Writing With All 5 Senses

The best way to engage a reader in a scene is to utilize all five senses. Sometimes writers forget to include how a place smells or what the character can taste in the air. Usually only sight is put into writing.

Sound

This sense is especially important in a dark room or during a long night. If the character can’t see, what can they hear? Shuffling feet in the dark, owls in the trees, a shadow darting through the underbrush. Sound can heighten fear and intensify a scene.

Taste

Important when a character is eating, of course, but also significant in other scenes. A character can taste many things: heavy perfume, the salt of the sea, grass after a rainfall.

Smell

If a hero is standing in a blood-soaked war zone, sight alone will not immerse a reader. A strong gust might blow the scent of smoke, sweat, coppery blood, and metal towards him/her.

Touch

Characters are rarely standing still throughout a story. They like to feel their environment. What do their clothes feel like? Their hair? The bed they sleep on? The ground, water, and air?

Sight

Let’s not forget sight, of course. Sight will undoubtedly be used in a story to describe scenes, for readers look through the characters’ eyes. It’s just important not to be crippled by sight and use it in every situation. If there’s a way to describe a scene with the other senses, then choose them. It will bring your writing to life.

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