Writing Tip: Senses


Writing Tip: Senses

It’s easy to use sight in our writing. We can describe what our characters are doing, how they are behaving and what they look like. We can describe the beauty of one scene or the grim emptiness of another. It is far harder to get our readers to smell, taste, touch and hear, but these are things that we should focus on when were are writing in order to fully immerse the audience into what we have created.
Using the example of a waterfall, let’s take a look at using the five senses.

1. Sight
The easiest sense to write about. Describe how the water cascades down the side of a cliff, frothing at the bottom. It hits the rocks there and small droplets of water fly off onto the grass on the bank. The water is clear. Though it moves quickly down the cliff, the pool below is still.

2. Sound
This sense, too, can be simple to use. Consider what you would be able to hear if you stood close to the waterfall. Try to be specific rather than using simple words like quiet and loud. Does the water thunder against the rocks? In contrast, what can you hear near the pool? In the wider scene, are the animals calling to one another, or is the silence strange compared to the deafening sound of the waterfall?

3. Touch
Now let’s imagine you can reach out and touch this waterfall. You run your fingers through the running water. Describe whether it is cool or warm, weak or powerful, and so on. The rocks are slippery and rough; the droplets that fly off them splatter on your face.

4. Taste
Now you’re going to drink the water. It may look refreshing, but is that how it actually tastes? What do you feel as it slides down your throat? Again, be detailed: explain whether something is sweet enough to leave your mouth watering or so bitter that the nasty taste remains on your tongue for hours afterwards?

5. Smell
The waterfall is a natural phenomenon. What can you smell there? Animals are around you – perhaps one of them has been in the pool and you can smell the wet scent of them. Can you smell the froth at the bottom of the waterfall?

We use these senses all the time in our daily lives, and our readers do the same. You can place your reader directly within your writing by providing them with each of these senses.

Written By: Laura Marie Clark

Laura Clark Picture

About the Author

Laura is a 23 year old English woman with a history degree residing in the UK. She has been writing for many years and enjoys writing horror/fantasy stories, as well as poetry. You can view  more of her work at: https://inspiredstoriesandpoems.wordpress.com/

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