Yes, there are five senses. If you need a refresher, they are: seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, and hearing.
Are you using all five senses in your writing? If not, re-read your most recent piece and highlight the senses you are using. Then, for fun, go back and add the other senses. Then read it again and see how much better it is.
A reader needs to feel connected to the story in every way possible. When you’re creating a new setting, bring the reader into it with as much information as you can, without boring them, of course! I’ve read some books that have so much intricate detail that I skim the pages trying to get into the actual story. Find that “happy medium.”
So, is your heroine locked in a dark, dank dungeon? How does it smell? What is the temperature in the room? Is it completely quiet, or does she hear noises like the squeaking of a mouse, or perhaps a cockroach skittering across the floor? And most importantly, what’s going on inside of her emotionally? Is she scared? Most likely. So, how can you show that?
I encourage all of you to read C.J. Redwine’s, “Defiance.” She has a gift with words that will take you to some of those dark places, and make you feel like you’re actually there. In your mind you become her characters and feel their pain, as well as their joy.
When I was a little girl and would go to visit my grandmother, her house had a distinct smell. It was a combination of bacon and cigarette smoke. That may sound awful, but it was Grandma, and believe it or not, I found the smell welcoming because Grandma was a warm and inviting woman. I have great memories of that house and Grandma’s love. I developed a character in one of my books whose house smells like bacon. And unlike Grandma, my character doesn’t smoke, she chews tobacco. However, like Grandma, she’s one of the most lovable characters in my book.
When writing romance, it’s easy to focus on feelings, and the sense of touch. But those feelings are enhanced when you mention the “woodsy” scent of the man’s skin, or the hint of honey in your heroine’s hair. Don’t neglect the nose!
I would love for you to tell me about some of your favorite ‘sensory’ writing. Write on, and don’t forget “the five.”
Grandma and Grandpa