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
The Artist’s Way: Week 9 – Recovering a Sense of Compassion

The Artist’s Way: Week 9 – Recovering a Sense of Compassion

The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self The Artist’s Way is a 12-week program designed by writer/director, Julia Cameron, to help develop creativity. The program is for creatives of all types, and has weekly exercises based on free writing, affirmations and regular excursions. Come with me as I take this 12-week course and see what I discover along the way.

Posted by naomilisashippen in The Artist's Way, 2 comments

The Artist’s Way: Week 9 – Recovering a Sense of Compassion

The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self
The Artist’s Way is a 12-week program designed by writer/director, Julia Cameron, to help develop creativity. The program is for creatives of all types, and has weekly exercises based on free writing, affirmations and regular excursions. Come with me as I take this 12-week course and see what I discover along the way.

Posted by naomilisashippen in The Artist's Way, 0 comments

The Artist’s Way: Week 8 – Discovering a Sense of Strength

The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self
The Artist’s Way is a 12-week program designed by writer/director, Julia Cameron, to help develop creativity. The program is for creatives of all types, and has weekly exercises based on free writing, affirmations and regular excursions. Come with me as I take this 12-week course and see what I discover along the way.

Posted by naomilisashippen in The Artist's Way, 10 comments

The Artist’s Way: Week 7 – Recovering a Sense of Connection

The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self
The Artist’s Way is a 12-week program designed by writer/director, Julia Cameron, to help develop creativity. The program is for creatives of all types, and has weekly exercises based on free writing, affirmations and regular excursions. Come with me as I take this 12-week course and see what I discover along the way.

Posted by naomilisashippen in The Artist's Way, 9 comments

The Artist’s Way: Week 6 – Recovering a Sense of Abundance

The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self
The Artist’s Way is a 12-week program designed by writer/director, Julia Cameron, to help develop creativity. The program is for creatives of all types, and has weekly exercises based on free writing, affirmations and regular excursions. Come with me as I take this 12-week course and see what I discover along the way.

Posted by naomilisashippen in The Artist's Way, 3 comments

Goodreads Review – The Wife and the Widow by Christian White #thewifeandthewidow #amreadingsuspense #amreadingcrime #writingcommunity #amreading, #bookstogram, #goodreads

The Wife and the Widow is intriguing from the start. With a haunting setting and fascinating but relatable characters, the story follows two very different women whose lives are intrinsically linked.

The story is set in the seaside town of Belport, a tourist destination in the summer and a ghost town in the winter. I love stories set in my hometown of Melbourne, Victoria, and I was reminded of places like Philip Island and Queenscliff.  The setting was so evocative, I was surprised when I looked it up on google and found that Belport was a fictitious place.

Down to earth Abby reminds me of the tough, friendly locals I have met on summer holidays to coastal towns. Dutiful doctor’s wife Kate is poignant as a woman who despite her wealth and status, seems to be held in contempt by most people she meets. “Passive to the point of invisible” she fights to find her truth and her voice.

The Wife and the Widow takes us to the limits of what we are prepared to do for those we love. It explores how seemingly everyday people can hold very deep reserves of both strength and darkness.

The story becomes ever more engrossing as all the disparate pieces come together in the most shocking and unexpected climax.

The Wife and the Widow is a cautionary tale about the damage that secrets can do and how we are never truly free of the past.

Posted by naomilisashippen in Goodreads Book Reviews, 0 comments

The Artist’s Way – Week 5: Recovering a Sense of Possibility

The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self
The Artist’s Way is a 12-week program designed by writer/director, Julia Cameron, to help develop creativity. The program is for creatives of all types, and has weekly exercises based on free writing, affirmations and regular excursions. Come with me as I take this 12-week course and see what I discover along the way.

Posted by naomilisashippen in The Artist's Way, 10 comments

The Artist’s Way – Week 4: Recovering a Sense of Integrity

The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self
The Artist’s Way is a 12-week program designed by writer/director, Julia Cameron, to help develop creativity. The program is for creatives of all types, and has weekly exercises based on free writing, affirmations and regular excursions. Come with me as I take this 12-week course and see what I discover along the way.

Posted by naomilisashippen in The Artist's Way, 2 comments

The Artist’s Way – Week 3: Recovering a Sense of Power

The Artist’s Way is a 12-week program designed by writer/director, Julia Cameron, to help develop creativity. The program is for creatives of all types, and has weekly exercises based on free writing, affirmations and regular excursions. Come with me as I take this 12-week course and see what I discover along the way.

Posted by naomilisashippen in The Artist's Way, 2 comments
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