Be Sure to Add the Senses to Your Writing

Seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling are the five senses. Do you use each of them when you are writing.

When describing what your character sees, don't forget to add colors and shapes.

What does your character hear when walking somewhere?

When you character touches something, how does it feel?

When your character eats, how does the food taste? Is there anything else your character tastes that should be described?

Last but not least are the smells. When I first started writing mysteries, my cop son-in-law bemoaned the fact that you couldn't smell anything in a book or a movie and that every crime scene, especially a murder, had many smells. That prompted my Rocky Bluff P.D. novel, Smell of Death. Unfortunately, that book can only be read as an electronic book and right now is only available on the Kindle.

In my latest book, An Axe to Grind, their are many scents, from the salty ocean spray to the disgusting odors emanating from an abandoned warehouse.

Adding all the five senses to your book will make it far richer and certainly give the reader a greater ability to experience what you characters are experiencing.

To increase your ability to do this, pay attention to everything that is around you, take the take to touch things, to try and describe what everything feels like, note the differences in colors, the sounds that surround you when you step outside, when you walk down the street, what your character would hear in the places he or she is inhabiting. Take a deep breath when you enter a home. What do you smell? Every house smells different. When you're outside, what do you smell.

Enrich your writing with what the five senses.



Cheryl said…
I'm going to give a short workshop on this to a group of 3rd graders in April. I'm going to bring some things into the glass in containers that they can smell, touch, and taste. Then we'll write a story that works into a field trip they went on earlier in the year.


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