Today’s Writing Tip

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We perceive our world through the five senses and sometimes a 6th. Be sure to use them all in your stories. Sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and intuition each provide different types of information. If you’ve ever had any of them compromised or perhaps even lost, then you realize how important they are. For example, if you have a head cold and can’t taste or smell anything, that definitely adds to the discomfort. Those who have had sinus surgery often have their sense of smell and taste altered, sometimes for years, others permanently. How would you like it if suddenly your favorite food tasted horrible?

Some people are visual learners, others auditory or kinesthetic, i.e. “hands-on.” Think about which one fits you the best. Then consider that readers who favor a certain type of learning or channel their perception of the world through preferred sense will want to do so in a similar way through fiction. One example that comes to mind are the novels that include recipes. What does that tell you about using the sense of taste and most likely smell?

Once you decide which one fits a particular scene, then you get to figure out how to “show, not tell.” Simply saying “the bread baking in the oven smelled really good” really doesn’t do it. A slight improvement would be “the aroma wafting through the kitchen transported her back to coming home from school to a loaf of home-baked bread with strawberry jam.”

How would you describe it?