I may write on this in more detail another week, but I wanted to just touch on a challenge I encountered lately. That is, writing a scene where your character lacks one of their senses. For example, if your character is in a pitch-black room, or has been temporarily deafened by an explosion. Of course, this challenge only really applies if you are writing from your character’s perspective.
This subject came to mind because I recently proof-read a section of my novel where a lot of physical action was happening in a completely dark area. Managing physical space is tough at the best of times, but without being able to describe what my character was seeing, it became one of the hardest scenes I’ve ever produced. And despite hours of effort on it, when I went back to proof read, I found that it still wasn’t as clear as I would like.
But even if you don’t want to face a scene like this in one of your main projects, I do think it can be very useful to write short stories or vignettes with restrictions such as these. Everybody has writing habits and techniques that we rely on a little too much; for me, I would say that visual description definitely falls into this category. So forcing ourselves to write without that crutch can be a great way to develop new styles which we may have otherwise avoided.
I tend to visualise my character’s point of view as I write, but imagining this wasn’t helpful at all.