editing / writers tips

Writer’s Tips #9: Add Sensory Detail

writers resourcesWhen you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. I’ll point them out. They’ll come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments. Please add comments with your favorite editing fixes.

You experience the world with your senses–

  • tactile
  • smell
  • sight
  • taste
  • auditory

Allow your readers to do the same. There are lots of descriptors that will make them swear they are smack dab in the middle of your plot:

  • the rich herbal smell of ***
  • the sticky feel, like sap from a tree
  • the dogs’ baying announced their success.
  • the splash of red amidst the drab browns
  • the light taste of cayenne reminded her of Robert’s cooking

Here are some that provide a slightly different take on our traditional senses (from books I’ve read, so tweak them before using):

  • anger steamed behind him like smoke from a power plant
  • predatory eyes
  • he could see the weight in her walk

Sensory detail always inspires my creativity. Not only is it the spice that makes a novel memorable, it’s also fun to include as the author. I have a lot of posts about descriptors, many of them including the senses. Browse through them and see if any spark your imagination.

Do you have some favorite details to share?

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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-sixth grade, creator of two technology training books for middle school and three ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blogger, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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