The 5 Senses and Fiction Writing

5-sensesAs a budding writer I am sure you are reading loads of fiction from all genres and lengths. That is, short stories and novels primarily, but this could also include poetry.

However, have you ever wondered what makes really great fiction great. Well, wonder no more.  Aside from dynamic characters and sparkling plot lines, using the five senses will greatly enhance any work of fiction. The five senses can add texture and fire up the imagination of your reader a lot more than not using them at all.

Five Senses Explained

So what are the five senses?  All new writers should make themselves very familiar with them.  So to remind you anyway here they are:

  • sight
  • hearing
  • taste
  • smell
  • touch

So why bother? As touched earlier using your five senses makes for a more satisfying and memorable read.  They lend texture and vibrancy to a craft that can fall flat, or seem bland, if you do not hook your reader. Don’t forget you are taking your reader on a journey and you want them to stay with you until the end. Most readers (including myself) have abandoned books that have not grabbed you or interested you enough to want to keep reading until the end. Well, this could be the reason why.


But don’t be tempted to describe fiction only in terms of what you can see or smell. What about mentioning how something tasted. Don’t forget taste is varied.  Something can be described as sweet, bitter, sour, salty and umami (I know it’s sounds weird).  Umami has a meaty or brothy taste.  Can you imagine the fun you’ll have with that!


How about touch? Why not try describing the surface of an old wooden table as having a coarse, jagged or bumpy texture rather than just saying it had a rough texture.  That’s the thing with creative writing, don’t be too predictable with anything especially your descriptions. Your writing will be seen as more original but without being too contrived. You want your prose to flow whilst evoking the interest of your audience.


What about sounds/hearing? This is where using this sense can get exciting. There are a myriad of sounds that invade us on a daily basis.  If you live in a busy city like I do here in London you are constantly bombarded with cars hooting or large lorries chugging along already busy streets!  All interesting sounds.  What about cats screeching or birds tweeting first thing in the morning!

The next time you hear an interesting sound try and use it in your next piece of fiction. It will only improve it. And you never know it could be the reason why you win a writing competition or even land that lucrative book deal!

Until next time, happy writing, S


Published by Sharon's Writers Tidbits

Sharon is a writer who lives in north London and has a long-held passion for the art and craft of creative writing. Sharon's main interests are novels, short stories and poetry. She also enjoys writing non-fiction. She is an avid reader and has a threatening TBR pile of books!

2 thoughts on “The 5 Senses and Fiction Writing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Observation Blogger

Lifelong learner and blogging enthusiast

The Stories In Between

Author River Dixon

Lee A. Vockins.

Author / Blogger / Editor


A friendly space for all mystery, crime & thriller lovers

From First Page to Last

A space to share book reviews and other book related treats

K.M. Allan

Writing Advice From A YA Author Powered By Chocolate And Green Tea


The website where movies count

Stories For All

Aspiring Writer. Short Stories. Poems.

MrHushHush Entries

Thoughts Unspoken

Lonely Power Poles

Writing, Reviewing, Wandering

art by Jeremy Price

mostly painting

The Blog

The latest news on and the WordPress community.

Sharon's Writers Tidbits

Support for Writers • Inspiration • Tidbits!

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

%d bloggers like this: