Using Audio/Video to Get a Sense of the Senses in your Scene

I’ve been revising a scene in my WiP that involves a very loud and very scary explosion. Having never been in a very loud and very scary explosion (thank God), I rewrote and rewrote the scene, trying to imagine what it would be like for my character. I tried to imagine what each of his five senses would experience during the blast.

It was difficult work. And I still wonder if I’ve done it justice. In fact, after writing this I may have to go back and read through it again.

So, imagine my delight (a strange word to use in this context) when, during my revisions, I came across this article at the Daily Mail:

Ever heard the sound of a nuclear bomb going off? Historian unveils one of the few surviving audio recordings of blast from 1950’s Nevada tests

Wow. Did you watch that video? Talk about scary. And loud. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be there, actually witnessing that.

And yet…now I can kind of imagine it, thanks to the recording. It really helped me get a better grasp on how a person would experience such an event. What they would see. How it would sound and feel. Taste and smell? Well, that would still be up to my imagination, but I’m thinking sulfur. Lots of sulfur.

When you’re writing a scene, and need your reader to experience something right along with your character (OK, which scenes don’t need that?!), try checking out video and audio resources to help you experience the situation first. They can really help you get a sense of the senses involved, and lead to a more authentic experience for your readers.