Writing With All Five Senses
The other night I got an interesting insight into my novel. Apparently, in descriptive passages, there’s much about what people look like, what they wear, how they appear to one another, and not much about what they eat.
What they eat? Interesting. Maybe it’s because I just eat so little all the time or because I eat even less when I’m focused on writing. That got me thinking, have I appealed to all the senses? Maybe you think that’s weird, since it’s words on paper, but the senses can all be clued in by the imagination and the more a whole person is involved in a scene, the deeper they lose themselves into the story overall.
Consider this: you have a scene where a couple is out to dinner. Did you set the scene correctly? Are they in a cozy Italian restaurant, where the scent of rich sauces and wine fill the air, dim lighting, quiet music and quieter conversations of lovers? Maybe in a loud Greek restaurant, where there is a lot of joyful, spontaneous shouting with many families, bright and colorful, very exciting and involved? If the couple is trying to have a romantic or intense moment, which setting would be best for them to be in? The Italian scene might be perfect for a romance novel or to grab the reader and show them the intensity of the characters feelings. The Greek scene might make it very conflicted or very comical, depending on the rest of the story. But, adding in the various details that let the reader really understand the scene will draw them into the characters’ lives better.
So…what can we do as writers for each of the senses? Well, I’ve made a list of the various senses, what “types” there might be under each and how a character might react. This is definitely not an extensive list, but it should help get the creative juices flowing and help you tune in all five of your senses to draw the reader in with all five of their senses. It doesn’t change your writing too much, just makes it deeper and broader and easier for the reader to experience what you want them to feel.
XO – T.
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