Using All Five Senses

The point of description is to immerse your reader into your story world and make them feel what your characters are experiencing. So vivid imagery is key to building each scene. The most common sense that writers use is visual imagery or the sense of sight. And it comes most naturally to writers, but it’s important to utilize all five senses in our writing.

What sounds are populating your scene? Is there the sounds of the city, cars passing and the hustle and bustle of people walking by or is there the quiet sounds of the country, wheat rustling in the breeze and the sounds of crickets in the night? Are church bells marking the time? Our lives are filled with sounds, so remember to include them in your writing to make your story world seem more real.

Smell is an important sense and is related to our memories, so it’s crucial to include. What does the scent of her perfume make your character think of? When your MC walks into a new house, does the smell of freshly baked cookies and vanilla remind them of their grandmother’s house? Does your MC feel on edge when they smell the metallic tang of copper that they recognize as blood? Scents can convey a lot of emotions and help with showing instead of telling.

A lot can also be conveyed using touch. Her silky skin underneath his fingers, the searing sun on his neck, the grit cutting into her skin as she is shoved to the ground. These sensations can really paint the mood of the scene and make it more vivid and real to your reader.

Taste isn’t always applicable to every scene, but it adds a lot of color to a scene. There’s the taste of blood in his mouth after a fight, the medley of spices that floods her tongue as she tastes curry, the aftertaste of coffee and cigarettes after an all-nighter. Don’t forget about taste in your writing.

Using all five senses really brings your writing to life and paints a full picture for your reader. What sense do you struggle to include? Comment below and happy writing!

Julia

Follow my column at Our Write Side and my Twitter for more writing tips and inspiration and find me on Facebook for weekly prompts and stories.

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