Touching the Senses

The basic concept of description in writing is incorporating all the senses in any given environment you’re describing. Smell, sight, hearing, tasting, and touching are all the basic senses and thus the pillar of great description. Sight is the main sense as it invokes us to use our imagination when we read, and, if one can utilize sight well enough, it can take us to different worlds.

The thing about “touching the senses” is that many writers forget to do this basic thing, even in their final drafts which is why it often takes a developmental editor of sorts to point it out. How does the room smell? what’s the vibe? how does the floor feel under their feet? Questions like this are building blocks to not only creating the environment, but touching the readers emotions.

So, how to ensure we don’t forget to “touch the senses” when we write? Simple, make a check it and stick it on your laptop or monitor.

Checklist:

  1. How does the room look?
  2. How does the room smell?
  3. How does the air taste?
  4. How does the floor feel under my feet?
  5. How does it all look?
  6. What is the vibe?

See? Simple. In any given environment, make sure you answer these questions. You can modify them to apply to your situation, and, each time you answer these questions you will begin to build a habit of being thorough in your descriptions which will put you on the path to becoming a better writer.

Bonus: if you want to challenge yourself, try to get all these questions in on your first draft. They don’t have to be perfect, but, if you can at least “touch the senses” on the first go, you’ll have less work to do going forward.

Oh yeah, and have fun with it! I know writing can be a pain but loosen up and stop taking it so seriously. The stakes are incredibly low and you can mess up as much as you like! That’s the beauty of writing.

Alright, that’s my spiel. Til next week. . .

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