Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Writing Down the Bones: The five senses

When I first started writing I was beaten over the head about using the five senses. I always used two to three but never seemed to get the other two. It took me a while to figure out how to do bring all five senses in, but the brow bearing did work.

I'm talking smell, taste, sight, hearing and touching Adding them to your scenes can give your story that three dimensional feel that readers love.

Some of these are easy to use:

Sight is whatever your character sees. The red overstuffed chair the person speaking to them is sitting in. The bare light bulb illuminating the room.

Hearing can be covered by the dialog, because you know your character is hearing what the other character in the scene said but you can also add more by telling your reader about the dog howling outside the open window or the tires screeching in the distance.

Smell might not be something you think about, but when you mention the scent of a trash bin wafting through the window or the musty smell of the hot room.

Taste isn't always easy to work in but you can do it. The salt of the sweat beading on your characters upper lip. If they are drinking then you can bring in the bitterness of the coffee or the welcomed coolness of the iced tea, the tepidness of the water from a rusty tap.

Touch is another one a lot of people leave out. Tell your reader how the red overstuffed chair feels. Is your character leaning on a door jam? Is the wood cool to the touch? How hot is that cup of coffee?

This doesn't have to be done in every single scene, but the more scenes you can put all the senses in the more three dimensional your story will become to your reader.

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