• Anna Mae

Writing With the Senses

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

One of the biggest lessons I learnt many years ago now, was how to write with the senses.

It opened up a whole world of potential in my work, and since then I have tried to help other new writers understand why it is so important no to overlook the senses.

Creating scenes that the reader can really relate to is not always easy. I often here that people have been put off trying to put their stories into the public domain as they are fearful people will not be able to imagine the story and will consider the work flat.

What happens most of the time when people write, is that the mind automatically focus on what characters can see. Characters are created in the mind of the author and the common oversight that is often made is to focus our writing as if we were looking out into their world. We become their eyes.

We describe the scenery, the colour of the curtains, and to an extent this paints a picture. However, by engaging the reader with all five senses we can create a deeper connection and bring scenes to life.

Can the characters smell the flowers?

Was the wall rough to the touch?

Did the coffee taste fresh but the cake stale?

By helping creations live in a multi sensory world, it makes it much easier for the reader to join them there.

Most people are not actually aware that senses are often neglected in writing, in fact it isn’t really something most people think about at all, either as readers or writers. Many writers that have neatly included all senses, when spoken to about their use of senses confessed it was more chance than intent.

They were not actively thinking about attacking their readers with all five sense, it just happened that they included a reference to a smell or a taste.

By learning how to use all five of the senses we can create deeper more three-dimensional characters and worlds.

Books can easily become more appealing to readers. and the overall enjoyment of the story increases. When we write with all the senses, we can influence mood, behaviour, character interaction and so much more.

Of course, in the heat of the moment it can easily be overlooked, and I am by no means perfect! But I do believe that if I spend some editing time focusing on the senses, my work becomes significantly better and my characters become eminently more believable.

Have a look at my free ebook - Writing with Sense - if this is something you would like to learn more about :)

free ebook writing with sense PDF
Download PDF • 364KB

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