Daily Writing Tip 2 of 100, Use All Five Senses

For one hundred days, I’m going to post a writing tip each day. I have a whole bookshelf full of writing books and I want to do some reading and increased studying of this valuable resource. This will help me keep track of anything I’ve learned, and help motivate me to keep going. If anyone has a favorite tip of their own to add, contact me. I’d love to put it up here.

Today’s tip – Use All Five Senses When Describing a Setting

Source – my experience – also, Jody Hedlund’s Blog Entry – 5 Tips for Writing Better Settings

We have an easier time adding in visual descriptions. But we can’t forget to bring our scenes alive through the use of textures, sounds, smells, and tastes. Maybe we can’t get ALL five senses onto every page. But as I write each scene, I make a conscious effort to find places to include as many as possible.

I actually made a reference card that says simply: Visual, Hearing, Taste, Touch, Smell. When writing a description from a POV character I check off each box and add a strong sensory impression from each of the five senses. It would seem to be clunky, but works very well. It’s amazing how much stronger and more intense the reading experience is when all five senses are used. It also serves to draw the reader into the scene in a way they wouldn’t otherwise.

The card, the list, helps keep this principle in my mind whenever I’m writing.