What was that noise?

First impression: I’m alone in the … and trying to get to sleep and…

First impression: Something woke me and I’m just trying to focus…

First impression: I’m burglaring and…

First impression: The wife and I are alone at last…

First impression: It’s inside of me.

First impression: <explosive cartoon balloon, no time or day or other visual, may go better with “What the hell was that!”>

What’s that light?

I thought we taped all the blanket seams?

It looks like a campfire…

See <explosive cartoon balloon>

What’s that smell?

See all of the above.

I asked myself and two other people these questions without providing a setting or any other cues–the lines above are our immediate reactions. In writing, what are the minimal cues needed to set the scene around a character’s reaction? Our flash response is partially framed by common experience, partially by, well, who we are. My son gave the cartoon balloon response–not once did I consider anything so abstract. When is it important to leave it in the mind of the reader? Possibly too open of a question without more to go on.

Late night ponderings before tomorrow’s visit to my (well heeled) gasteroenterologist, who’ll stick a tube down my throat to determine what’s bugging my esophagus, besides the tube, while I’m loopy on some nifty narcotic (and liable to giggle if I re-ponder any of these during that 5 minute procedure or soon afterward). What is that noise? Well, isn’t that different! And look, colors!

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