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Romance/Love: October 07, 2015 Issue [#7255]

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 This week: Using your Senses
  Edited by: Lonewolf
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Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

Writers often hear that in order to write a great story, we must incorporate the 5 senses. Doing so draws a reader further into our stories, allowing him/her to feel the emotion between the characters. While I do like this piece of advice and find it useful to a point, I think there is a better approach. The whole reason to avoid flat out stating everything that happens in a story is to give the reader sensory details that make them feel like they're really there.

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Letter from the editor

Think about how much our senses come into play with everything we do, every single moment of our lives we use our senses. Without our senses we would be lost. Don't lose your reader by having your characters avoid their senses. Using the senses can make your scenery more robust, love scenes more sensual, entertainment scenes more entertaining, and meaningful. Remember, that the setting should reflect the tone of the scene you're writing, so choose descriptions of your characters' sensory experiences that reflect the mood you're trying to create in the scene.

The thing to remember is not all five senses should be addressed at once. But also, make it relevant to the character. Do those seagulls sound like screaming people? Does the cigarette lit by a companion cause an intense craving for the hero who only quit a year ago? Does the scratchy hospital sheet feel like desert sand to a war vet? What does that cloud of smoke in the distance make the heroine think of? Does a cinnamon roll threaten the heroine's diet? Just one at a time and filter it in via the characters. It will allow the reader to relate and give character insight.


Describes how things look in your story it's simple, straight forward, and can add a significant layer of depth to any scene that will instantly plant your readers in the front row of what's happening. The only thing you should be careful to avoid doing when using this type of sensory detail is to refrain from using common colors in your description, such as "blood red" or "fire engine red" and "midnight black" or "dark as night." While readers will immediately know the color you are referring to, it becomes boring and rather cliché to hear them in every piece of literature.

Things to consider: Place yourself firmly in the scene you're writing and turn in a circle. What is around you? What are people doing, wearing? How is the person the character is interacting with reacting?


Using sound helps to ground the reader in the scene. The click of the heroine's boots on the ground, the honking of the cars in the city, the roaring of the waves at the beach. All of these things help set the scene and draw the reader in. Sound can help depict your characters' environment, or emotions. Sounds bring happiness, sadness, and fear. Sound brings forth the tone of someone's voice, laughter.

Things to consider: Think of what sorts of background noise the character would be hearing and add it.


When writing romance, the hero and heroine should have distinct smells that call to each other. Perhaps something reminds him of the smell of her hair, and he realizes just how much he misses her. Or the heroine is trying to move on with her life, but finds that no other man smells as good as her ex. Whatever it is, smell should be incorporated into scenes as much as possible to draw the reader in and evoke their own memories.

Things to consider: Describe how your character's environment smells, how the food their eating smells, the scent of their lover, the scent of danger. This is a powerful addition to making the scene you're writing pop.


The sense of touch can be used to create sensual scenes that draw your reader into the moment with the character. That's why bathtub scenes are popular in romance, especially for historical pieces. The silky slide of water along skin automatically evokes sensuality and promise. There are many different textures to explore in this world we live in. Using this detail in your story will give your writing texture as well and make the situation much more realistic to the reader.

Things to consider: The sense of touch shows us pain, pleasure, and texture. How does your character feel when another touches them? What do they feel when they touch someone else? Touch can also be used as a personal sensation-an itch, or they feel hot or cold.


The sense of taste like the sense of smell has the ability to bring back memories and the emotions attached to them. It's not necessary to add taste to every scene, but it should definitely be there in the big emotional scenes. If your character is in a fight, does he taste the metallic tang of blood in his mouth? If the heroine has been kidnapped, perhaps it's the bitter taste of fear creating a film in his mouth. Love scenes are fun because you can use a variety of flavors to evoke the feeling of danger, excitement or desire.

Things to consider: Remember in your writing that your sense of smell and taste are deeply connected. A strong smell is often tasted, such as perfume. Is it sweet, succulent, bitter? Taste can show us the taste of food, drink, poison or that of a lover.

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When sensory details are used, your readers can personally experience whatever you're trying to describe, reminding them of their own experiences, giving your writing a universal feel. A universal quality is conveyed when the writer is able to personally connect with the readers.

Editor's Picks

 Sometimes You Can Go Back  (18+)
A love story that's a bit edgy but with a happy ending
#1853695 by ☮ The Grum Of Grums

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This item number is not valid.
#1966078 by Not Available.

 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#2027774 by Not Available.

 Flame  (E)
A short-short about the self-destructive nature of the greatest of our human emotions.
#1688060 by k. e. sharp

 Hotel Saint Marie  (GC)
Juliet turned to her daughter and said, “You mark my words, daughter. He’s dangerous.”
#1905147 by Bikerider

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