Month: July 2019

Hook Your Readers Using Sensory Description

Hook Your Readers Using Sensory Description

There is no better way to lure readers into your story than by appealing to all five of their senses.

Readers engage with stories because of the way they make them feel, and what better way to make a reader feel something that by appealing to their physical senses. Let the reader know not only how things look and sound, but how they feel, taste and smell.

Our readers have vivid imaginations but they rely on us to guide them on their journey. They don’t only want to know what happens, they want to know how it feels. Readers want to smell the tingly citrus scent of the mandarin the schoolboy peels at playtime, they want to feel the icy wind that hits the face of the woman who has just lost her job and they want to taste the hot, bitter coffee the detective sips as he gazes down on the body of the murder victim.

I recently rewrote a scene and included the sensory detail that had previously been lacking, and it was much improved. Have a look back on some of your own work, and see if you’ve let the reader know how things look, sound, touch, taste and smell. They’ll love you for it!

Here’s one I prepared earlier:

a) No sensory detail

In the late afternoon, we would take our drinks out on the verandah and joke that it was becoming our evening ritual.

b) Sensory detail

“In the late afternoon, when the sun had lost its glare, we would wander onto the verandah and drink more than we should. The sharp coldness of the wine would sting my throat at first, but like a reluctant swimmer easing inch by inch into an icy pool, I soon became aclimatised, and would want to linger all day.

The mixed aroma of rosemary, lavender and oregano surrounded us, from the cottage garden I had planted around the house. A hodge podge of scraggingly shrubs and struggling herbs, they thrived or shriveled or dug in their roots and I nurtured or discarded them accordingly.”

Posted by naomilisashippen in About Writing, 4 comments

Losing isn’t Everything

In achieving our goals, sometimes we lose the things we love along the way.

You would think that losing a significant amount of weight would be a good thing, and of course, it is. For almost two years now, I have been on a weight loss kick and have lost thirteen kilos and counting.

My wakeup call was when I went to sign up at the gym, and they wouldn’t let me without a doctor’s certificate. My blood pressure was too high.

Since then, I have made changes to my diet and exercise routine, and have made slow, steady progress. I feel and look better than I did.

Being able to fit into my clothes again has been great but there’s one problem; a beautiful leather jacket my husband gave me. I love this jacket because I can throw it on over anything and it looks like I have made an effort. It’s three quarter length so it keeps out the cold and my son says it makes me look like an assassin.

Well it used to. I used to fill out that jacket out nicely but now it makes me look like a scrawny scarecrow. The empty shoulders stick out and it hangs off me like a hand me down. I won’t be scaring anyone in that jacket.

And so, I have made the sad decision to put it away; it is no longer bringing me joy.

I would never have thought that my weight loss would have a downside but losing that leather jacket has been hard to take. It’s what my Year Twelve Economics teacher called Opportunity Cost; the price you pay for choosing one opportunity over another.

We are constantly making decisions in our life; the food we eat, the time we spend, the company we keep. There are the opportunities we take, and the opportunities we leave behind.

We must choose wisely, because for every success we have in life, there is always a price to pay.

Posted by naomilisashippen in About Writing, 0 comments