October Special: Sensuous Description

I am taking 4 NaNo prep creative writing courses through Wesleyan University. The Craft of Style, The Craft of Setting & Description, The Craft of Character, and The Craft of Plot. There will also be a fifth course with a capstone project to tie everything together. The Style course was all about choosing your words for meaning, clarity, and sense. The first assignment was to write three paragraphs of “sensuous description.” The goal was to write with all the senses while putting pressure on each word so that the meaning was always clear. I’m leaning heavily towards writing my capstone and/or my NaNo novel about my Galactic Empire, so I used that as my foundation for my assignment.

The shrieking klaxons in his helmet faded to a dull ringing as Todd awoke, cold and alone, on the Mosari Empress’s orbital cruiser some time later. His precision engineered temperature-controlled exosuit had been replaced with a pair of rough strewn cloth pants and an equally scratchy cloth shirt, neither of which were heavy enough to stave off the chill in the tiny, sterile holding cell.

The phasor blast on his ship – the sleek twinjet fighter that Fae had loaned him – hadn’t been enough to rip it to shreds, but it had disabled his artificial gravity and his stabilizing thrusters. The centripetal forces generated by the spinning of his ship should have killed him, but aside from the sour taste of bile in his mouth and his aching muscles, he seemed no worse off than after his worst night of drinking.

The faint scent of disinfectant and the slightly lower gravity churned his volatile stomach as he fought to orient himself. He was grateful for the dim lighting, strips of red bordering the length of the cell at the junction of wall and ceiling. They were the same shade of red as his warning lights had been when he had come within range of Veralis’s cannons. The turning of his stomach no longer had anything to do with the smell of the room. She should have blasted him out of the sky, so why did he still breathe?

Notes: All the assignments are peer reviewed based on criteria the instructor provides. Everyone reviews three assignments and receives three reviews. All the criticism is constructive and overwhelmingly positive. The only critique I really received was for the second paragraph reading rather clunky, which I am in whole-hearted agreement with.

On a personal note, our closing date has been pushed back to accommodate our sellers closing on the house they are purchasing with the proceeds of our sale. So my early and long days this week were moot and I will be doing them again next week. That might translate into another week of my NaNo assignments rather than prompts, but we’ll see. In any case, I will have another special post for you tomorrow. Now if only the thunder would go away… Have a great night!

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