One of the big challenges I had writing Second Sight, was writing from the point of view of a character who was blind through most of the story.
The first sense I almost always use when writing is what I can see; it’s a visual component that grounds me in the world. It tells me I am not just in a little white box. But it’s not only the room that is described, it’s the characters, a flinch, a frown, a nod. These tell a great deal about what the characters are doing, and how they are feeling; without them, as a reader, you are stuck in that white room alone with just voices.
I needed to use the other senses to fill in the gaps. But it wasn’t easy, because, for me, it wasn’t natural. Sound, smell, taste, touch, usually are something that adds depth to what I could already see. They are not the only information.
If someone is blind, how do they know someone stood up? You add sound; the chair scraped the floor as they pushed themselves to their feet. What if there is a room with five people? Which one stood?
Every action needed to be checked as I wrote the story. Each time I had to ask the same question. Would she know that if she couldn’t see it? The answers were often no, and practicalities of the scene would need changed, sometimes in only small ways.
I got it wrong a lot in the first draft. So much so that I considered changing the world rules to make life easier, but that would not have been true to the story and world I was writing. It was a challenge that I both enjoyed and found frustrating. It has given me a new appreciation of how I used the senses as I write, and while I am sure there will still be places I have missed, I hope they are few and far between.
If you want to read Second Sight, it comes out on the 31st of July. You can pre-order it now for only £0.99 at these places –
Terra’s world is thrown into darkness and the only thing she can see is a death she fears she cannot stop.
To have any hope of preventing what’s coming, Terra must learn to stop fighting her past and embrace her gift, but as Seers start dying, is she already too late?