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5 Tips for Writing Using the Senses

An important part of creative writing is making the reader feel like they are in the scene. We do that by describing elements that relate to our senses. In the scene, what does it smell like? What are the sounds, the sights? How does the character react to touch, to taste?  

Sometimes, I know we forget that our characters have all the same senses that we do. Describing using all of them can bring the book to life. This short post offers 5 quick tips on how you can better utilize the senses as you write:

1) Go out and sense it.

Whatever you’re trying to write about, go out and get the feel for it yourself! (As long as it is within legal and moral boundaries). For example: Want to know how to describe nature? Go out and smell it, hear it, see it. Experience is the greatest inspiration.

2) Research

Not sure what something looks like? Sounds like? Google it! The internet is a great resource to give you instant answers when in a pinch. 

3) Read!

Check out how other authors describe their scenes using their senses. They can help point you in the right direction as to how you want to deliver your message.

4) Ask around

If you can’t figure out how to describe that smell and google isn’t helping, ask your friends! Asking real people who experience things like you is the best way to fill in any holes you have in describing something.

5) Use stronger words

What I mean by this is don’t write something like, “The alleyway smelled.” Yes, that’s using your senses, but it isn’t being very descriptive. Was it good? Was it bad? An example of a stronger word would be, “The alleyway had a putrid stench.”

Like I said, the post was short and sweet but the points pack a punch. We sense things in many different ways which means the characters in your story do to! Utilize all of them to get the most realistic, creative, engaging story you can conjure.

Happy writing!


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