For Writers: Unleash your Senses

1.5 minute read

Writing is an immersive experience. Good writers don’t just tell readers a story—we suck them into a world from which the only escape is the words “The End.”

A great way to do just that is to use as many senses as you can when describing a scene—especially during moments of intensity.

It doesn’t have to be all at once. You can break this up into smaller chunks to keep the action/dialogue flowing. But as the scene unfolds, tell us what the character is seeing, smelling, tasting, touching and hearing.

Again, you don’t have to do this in every scene. I normally 2-3 senses for ordinary scenes and use 4-5 for a really dramatic moment that I want my reader to find particularly immersive. Otherwise, you risk “reader fatigue.”

See the sample excerpt below from Bride Tree.

Vivian de Lussan faces the Versailles Palace with Queen Marie-Antoinette looking on behind a fan.

The iron taste of fear made Viviane choke. What should she do if she only had seconds to live? Pray. I should pray.

Her lips twitched uselessly. God, help me. I’m too young to die. She was too frightened to close her eyes. She shook her head at Salomé, willing her to put down the knife. The vengeful rebel smiled and tightened her grip on its hilt.

Salomé stalked behind her.

Viviane felt her heart plummet.

She saw the stained blade descend before her eyes. She felt Salomé’s hand jerk her head backward. She heard the shouts of the crowd as they bayed like rabid dogs for her death.

“Are you ready to pay the price, aristo?” The sharp edge of the blade bit into her throat.

Enjoy Bride Tree today. Also available as an Audible audio book.

About JP Robinson

JP Robinson is a prolific award-winning author. He graduated from SUNY Stony Brook university at 19 with a Bachelor’s degree in English and another in French. He is currently wrapping up his Master’s of Education.

JP is a contributor to Guideposts, Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, and the Salvation Army’s War Cry. His work has been praised by industry leaders such as Publishers Weekly and secured the #1 spot on Amazon’s historical thrillers category.

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