Using your five senses when writing just makes sense.
Including details of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch creates a layer of depth to your stories that can make them more believable, relatable, and plain fun to read.
But you don’t have to wait until you’re deep into revisions to come to your senses. Whether you’re looking for blog or article ideas, new spins on green topics, poetic inspiration, or a catalyst for your world of fiction, using your senses doesn’t just add to your current ideas — they can create brand new ones.
Sight: The other night I spied a seasoned, but sprightly couple wearing matching fluorescent safety vests while jogging around slushy piles of melting yuck. At one point, the man took his wife’s hand to escort her around a mammoth-sized puddle. (Sigh. Chivalry lives, my friends.)
I looked away for just a moment, looked back, and they were…gone!
(Blog/Article Ideas: Seniors staying active. Exercising your seasoned relationships. Fiction: An older couple’s disappearance raises questions of sanity, and perhaps (supernatural) foul-play?)
Hearing: You’re a writer, so you should always be listening. Remember, it’s not eavesdropping…it’s research! I love picking up snippets of conversations and one-liners to store away for future use. This week’s came courtesy of my son:
Me: (Walking into room, and opening up the blinds) “Good morning, boys. It’s a wonderful day to be alive!”
Extra-Tired-Six-Year-Old: “I’d rather be alive on the weekend.” Ba dum bum
(Blog/Article Ideas: Sleep studies for children. Fiction: A great scene opener for any age. I’m thinking a run-down salesman.)
Smell: My area of the country is currently experiencing a mini-thaw after the recent blizzard of the century, so there is a lot of muck wafting about. The combination of dampness, and the smell of the very dirt trying to wake up from hibernation, always reminds me of the start of track season — of heading into the chilly-ish air to find your legs again.
As I stepped outside yesterday and took a deep breath, it was no surprise that a visual of a young girl running came to mind. But the bouncy brunette pony-tail didn’t belong to me. No, this girl was running as if dragging someone or something behind her.
(Blog/Article Ideas: Running from depression. Jogging your way to mental health. Fiction: I’m sensing something dark and poignant — not my usual fare.)
Taste: With 10,000 taste buds in constant battle for a bite, there’s got to be a story in there somewhere. This week, for me, it was an unpleasant one.
I ate a bad nut.
Save the jokes and spam , please — I’m talking about a really nasty cashew. I’m not sure of the cause, but I do know that as I my lips pursed in foody disappointment, the seedlings of a story came to mind.
(Blog/Article Ideas: The freshness factor of food. Fiction: A comedic scene including poisoned nuts, a la the dates (fruit) in Indiana Jones.)
Touch: Oh, how I love my gray-and-white striped, separated-toe, moisturizing socks of fabulousness. (Thanks, sis!) They are about the softest things I’ve ever touched, and I’ve come to compare everything, everything, with their downy loveliness.
I’ve been wanting to get another pair (because, hey, they need to be washed sometimes), and contemplated putting them in my purse while shopping so I could do the “touch test.” Did I mention they were dirty? Thankfully, I stopped myself in time.
(Blog/Article Ideas: Touch sensitivity in children/adults. Overlooked gifts for special occasions. Fiction: Exploring the life of a character with an extreme sensitivity disorder.)
These were just a sampling of the notes I crammed into my “Ideas Folder” this week. Since our senses are so subjective, feel free to use my examples as writing prompts to get you started in what I’m sure would be a completely different direction.
Or, better yet? Get out of the house, and sniff out some new ideas of your own.
How about you? Have you seen, heard, smelled, tasted or touched any good ideas this week?
Find me on Twitter @amandahoving