Monday, December 10, 2007

The Five Senses as Inspiration

Fiction writing classes teach us to remember to incorporate the five physical senses into our stories to help bring the tale to life, so that the reader can become absorbed in the story. Don’t you feel more pulled into the story when you’ve remembered a familiar smell or clearly visualized an image expressed in the novel you’re reading? Using the five senses is a fantastic way to keep your reader turning the pages and to breathe life into your story, but how often are we encouraged to utilize the five physical senses as a source of inspiration for our stories?

All around us, every day, are writing tools ripe for the picking. As you go about your everyday life, notice what you notice. If you don’t have a laptop computer, Alphasmart or daily planner with you, always keep a small spiral notebook on you so you can jot down the interesting things you experience with your physical senses in between writing sessions on your work in progress – the hazy aura around the full moon; the crazy woman on the subway who bursts out screaming and continues to do so until the next stop; the warm, soft sensation of a newborn puppy in your hands; the seemingly absurd conversation overheard at the next table in a restaurant; the smell of Christmas cookies wafting through the house as you walk through the door; the taste of your favorite food at the end of the day.

Take advantage of the five physical senses in all aspects of your writing. You never know when that little snippet of information will turn into a gold nugget. Now get that small spiral notebook, a couple of pens and a good mechanical pencil fully loaded with lead and work on your story in the mall, at dinner, on your way to work . . . .


Blogger Melissa Marsh said...

I always forget to put in the "smell" sense in my stories - and that is a very powerful one.

Great post, D!

1:06 PM  
Blogger Diana Celesky said...

Thanks for your comment, Melissa. I tend to overlook the "touch" sense unless I'm writing a sex scene.

5:02 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth Parker said...

Good reminder for us, Diana! This will not only help our writing, but make daily life just a little bit more interesting! Thanks for the post.

1:20 PM  

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