Barron workshop

An email went out to all those enrolled in the “Seeing is Believing” workshop. If you are enrolled and didn’t get the e-mail or have not enrolled yet, here is info about the session and the required writing exercise.

  • In the first hour of the class, we will be looking at some examples of rich, descriptive writing from contemporary writers of both fiction and non-fiction. We will discuss the aspects of the craft and its pitfalls, and use the last hour or so for practical application/workshop.
  •  For workshop: 3-4 pages typed, double spaced (that’s around 1,000 words). Bring 2 copies to share (and one for you if you wish). It doesn’t have to be polished; just try to make it vivid.


Write a scene in which the main activity (yours or that of a fictional person) is tactile, but feel free to use the other senses. Add some bits on setting, so we know where this is happening.

Examples of primarily tactile activities (but feel free to use your own ideas):

Playing a musical instrument or creating something

Moving in darkness/blindness

Scaling a wall, firing a gun, destroying something

Toilet-papering a house, dressing up a dog

Shopping (for antiques, mattresses, food)

Cooking, cleaning, raking, knitting, shoveling, digging

Milking a cow, massaging a person, gardening/farming

Folding, cutting, shucking,

Performing surgery or nursing a wound

Rowing or sailing a boat, competing in a sport, etc.

Describe the way an action feels. Ever notice that when you step off a boat the ground seems to be moving under you? Or feel oddly short after taking off ice skates? This exercise is an opportunity to describe with a higher level of specificity than is normally required; to really focus. Have fun with this. Don’t forget that the world can be wet, dry, sticky, scratchy, cold, warm, spongy, slick, chalky, windy, etc…

Feel free to bring material that’s part of a work in progress, or use this exercise as a prompt toward creating new work.

Have fun with it!


About Sandy Barron

Author of The Heiress of Water (HarperCollins, 2006) and Stay With Me (Harper, 2010)
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