Right off the bat, I have a question for you, but before I get to it, let me set the scene ….

Think about your favourite actor/actress, singer, group, friend, or person. Put simply, there’s something about them that you like, right? Whatever it is, there’s something that draws you in …. It could be the way they look, their fashion sense, or their walk. Alternately, it could be a characteristic of theirs’s, like confidence, a sense of self-worth or that they have a certain calmness about them. But, what about if we take the visual element away? Imagine you’re blind. How does that change things?

I’ve always been fascinated by stories of people who have lost one of their senses, like their hearing, or their sight. What’s almost always reported is that, naturally, the person in question has no choice but to rely on their remaining senses, and in doing so, heightens them in the sense of having a better sense of smell or a better ‘ear’. It makes complete sense, wouldn’t you agree? And it’s because of this that I love books. They force you into this realm.

Unlike watching a movie, where you don’t really have to do anything except pay attention, you have two of your senses working for you, while reading a book is a completely different ball game. You’re activating only one, or rather, you have to activate one to be able to have the experience. Which is where things become interesting. So, you’re reading, and from what you read, your mind then kicks in. Your imagination paints the picture of what you’re reading about. And, if you’re really into it, you may even ‘hear’ the sounds of the ocean, the traffic, and the children laughing, from the pages of your book. You’re in a sense, the cinematographer.

A not so well-written book will make it hard for you to paint this picture, but a well written one won’t. And that’s my point. That’s what you, the author, need to be focussing on. Because that’s what makes you great, as a writer, and that’s what makes your work great.

So, my question:

What would it be like describing a scene that you’re in to a person that can’t see?

If you do your job properly, you’ll know very quickly what you need to do when you sit down to write your book.

Kurt Wilkesmann

Literary agent for foreign markets