Fiction · Plan · Write

 Using all the senses


You love writing, and you can’t help but be proud of some of the scenes you are able to create. However, others may fall a little flat and need a bunch of rewrites. Why is this?

You want your writing to be dynamic and intriguing. This means that you will need to take the time to show your reader what’s really going on around your characters. You want them to see what your characters see and feel what they feel. This can be done if you make sure to use all the senses in your writing.

It may be faster to simply state that a character walks into the kitchen to see her mother making dinner, but it doesn’t really capture the moment. It sounds flat and boring.

Let your character smell the sauce simmering on the stove and hear the water next to it boiling away, all ready to cook some pasta. Have your character notice how her mother’s face appears calm and happy, half coated in the sunlight from the window, which is unusual since she typically finds cooking stressful. Have her run her hand along the cool countertop as she sees that there is an extra spot set at the table across the room, and wonders who will be eating with them.

See how much different the two are? You are saying the same thing, but at the same time you aren’t.

You want to really give your readers a strong sense of what’s going on in your story so they can identify with it. The reader will want to put themselves in your characters shoes from time to time, and engaging the senses is a great way to make this happen. It can even help bridge the gap between the reader and an unfamiliar situation in your work, as you can bring familiar elements into it.

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