Tuesday, 6 April 2010

A feast for the senses & novel changes....

The theme in April for the Creative Every Day Challenge is 'The Five Senses'.
Easter Saturday's visit to Polzeath proved a true feast for the senses and prompted a change to my novel.
Firstly we visited the Salt Water Cafe/Bistro in Polzeath to meet the lovely Melanie McDonald (pictured below with a couple of her paintings) and view her wonderful exhibition. Take a virtual look at her stunning paintings alive with the spirit of the Cornish coast and the people who inhabit it, on her website: www.melaniemcdonald.co.uk .
It was raining when we arrived in Polzeath. The photo below shows an overcast wet Polzeath.

Within half an hour the clouds began to disperse & the sun started to shine; changing the scenery and perspective. This got me thinking...

...about the theme of the five senses. Last year I sat in Polzeath and wrote five pages in my notebook using the theme of the five senses. I wrote from the viewpoint of my novel's male protagonist. At the time the beach and town were full to brimming. Each of my (his) senses were assaulted by nature and man made stimuli.

Visiting on Saturday, my main character (whose childhood home is Polzeath) begged for me to write more for him. Really, I know it's insane but I was compelled to write and that's what I did. This time my perspective was very different. Previously a strong wind had carried the sounds of a crowded beach. Children, lifeguard speakers & seagulls excited by the opportunity for scraps had competed and mingled. This time, it was quieter and the sights were very different. It was amazing how dramatically the weather affected the scene. For instance compare my photos above with the ones below, taken on a sunnier day a fortnight ago.

The colours are completely different. The shades of the sky, sea and sand are altered.

The photos directly above and below illustrate how the rocks and sand take on a different character when highlighted by the sun instead of varnished by the rain.

This made me consider again the changing faces of my character's home. Not only can our sensory perception be affected but also our mood. Interestingly, on Saturday, with the colours subdued I wrote a sad and emotive scene from my character's past. Although I was happy the earlier rain and mist had triggered the character's traumatic memory. I'd thought my novel was finished and nearly ready to submit. But now I'm considering adding and expanding on this bit of writing. Maybe my character was trying to tell me something on Saturday because I think this piece could make a positive change to the way the story is told. I suspect I'm making myself a lot more work but I feel that I have touched on an idea that will benefit the novel as a whole.
Do you have places that influence your writing/art/creative projects? How does the weather or season affect your sensory perception of these places and the subsequent creative expression that comes from a visit there?


  1. what a cool thing to write about your character's perspective of a place through the 5 senses!!

  2. It is always wonderful when we are in tune with our character and know what they want.

    I admire how your keen senses allow you to realize the need to re-work of your novel.

    Though I don't like to admit this, I write better under bad weather. Something about strong wind, rain and gray sky make me more creative than usual. It also applies to my drawing.

    Keep it up with you novel and wishing you all the best for submission. :)

  3. Leah - I love synchronicity - that by you setting this theme I was reminded of having done this last year & so was again promoted/inspired this weekend. It all seems meant to be! Thanks :-)

    Hybrid J - I'm not sure that I have keen senses. I do know I like to make work for myself. Lol. I know what you mean about the bad weather - it can be so emotive. Ooooh - you've just sparked another idea.....thank you!

  4. How wonderful the way your words weave their way around the images. The changes to the novel sound really interesting and I love how the weather changed from rain to sun, changing the imagery at Polzeath. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Those paintings are lovely.

    I'm not surprised Polzeath inspires your writing so much and if you feel you should add more to your novel then I'm sure you're right to do so.

    Walking along St Ouen or Greve De Lecq beaches always inspire me, or simply lying in bed listening to the wind as it howls around our house can do it too.

  6. Mary - Thank you :-)

    Debs - there's definitely something awe inspiring in listening or watching the weather's power. I think coastlines are interesting because the weather can be so changeable and dramatic. A mixture of not being cocooned by land & the might of the sea can create awesome effects.

    Oh now I wish I was by the sea today.....

  7. thanks for the birthday wishes, m'dear! i like this post - what an interesting question it poses.. i suppose i'm affected by the weather; i certainly am more affected by the seasons. when the first day of spring arrives, i am over the moon with joy!

  8. I'm not at all surprised your character was so insistent - your landscape is truly inspiring.

    I'm a sucker for parks and woods (though sometimes the bus just has to do), but sometimes I long for the sea

  9. Melanie's paintings are amazing - inspiring in themselves!

    I love the idea of writing from the five senses, and must give that a try sometime. The seasons do affect my perception, especially in the fields and woods where we live and where I walk Molly every day. I've noticed that when I'm dreaming up ideas as we walk, they're much more dramatic when the weather is bad and I'm more likely to think of humorous scenes when it's sunny. No therapy needed to work out the logic in that I suppose!

    Lovely post, really brightened my day :o)

  10. Ingrid - I wouldn't say I was a person whose mood was dramatically affected by the weather (I have a couple of friends who find their depression worse in winter) but it definitely affects my imagination & inspiration. Hope you had a good Birthday :-)

    Megan - I also love woods/forests & trees in general - some wonderful folklore, atmosphere & energy to be found.

    Jan - thank you & thanks for stopping by :-)

    Karen - Melanie's painting are very inspiring. They're full of energy & life. It was lovely to meet her.

    Kat :-)

  11. Keep it up with you novel and wishing you all the best for submission.
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