When it comes to our favourite books, we choose those that most effectively immerse us into the world that the author has created. For instance, Paradise Lost is one of my favourites because of the might, the majesty, and the detail that help to pull the reader deep into a genuine experience of the poem. Writers can get their readers involved like this in various ways – a good way is by using the five senses to enrich our writing.
Our coverage of the five senses has so far taken us through ways to use and describe sight, sound (or hearing) and smell (take a look at my poem, Now That We Can Smell, as well). Today, we will tackle the remaining two senses: touch and taste.
I confess to less frequent use of both of these senses. It is not difficult to say whether something is hot or cold, rough or smooth, made of silk or leather, but that is about as far as I go with touch – and similarly, do not tend to be particularly descriptive in regards to taste. There is, of course, much more to them both than this.
Let’s think about how we can use each of them in turn. Here we do not necessarily need to think about using as vibrant words as in the cases of the other senses – instead, we should make sure that we fully utilise these senses to immerse our readers into our writing.
Let’s think about touch. We are often so busy describing how something looks that we can sometimes forget how it feels. Remember, everything that your characters come into contact with has a texture or a temperature, and though you probably do not want to list them all one after the other, touch is just as important a sense. It might not be able to conjure old memories as effectively as some of the other senses, but it is a part of everything. We are all familiar with how things feel, so add those key words to your writing to give your readers a deeper insight into your piece.
Now let’s think about taste. You may not get the chance to use this one as much, so make sure that when you do, you select your words wisely. Arouse your readers’ taste buds by telling them that something is delicious or disgust them with something that is bitter or barely edible. Is it mouth-watering or sour? If it tastes good, then why does it taste good – and if not, then why not?
And those are the five senses! It’s important to be aware of how you can use them in your writing. Don’t forget to utilise those underused senses: smell, touch and taste. They are just as important as sight and sound and can add extra layers of depth to your writing.
This month’s theme is THE FIVE SENSES. If you have written something that you would like me to share on this blog on the theme of the five senses, then please post a link in the comments or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: Five Senses.