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.

Taste

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!

Touch

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.

Hearing

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

 

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Author: Sharon's Writers Tidbits

Sharon is an aspiring writer who lives in north London and likes all things to do with the art and craft of creative writing. Her love of writing goes back to childhood and it is a passion that is present to this very day. Sharon's main interests are novels and short stories, but she also enjoys writing non-fiction. It is her dream to one day be a published author.

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