Friday, April 30, 2010

Filling Up Your Story With the Five Senses

Yesterday seemed more like March than April in Chicagoland. The southern winds kicked up a lot of debri and flower petals fell from the crabapple trees like a pink and white blizzard.

But one thing I noticed most of all was the scent of lilacs.

Immediately, I was back in grade school on an unusually humid and warm spring day. The heady scent of lilacs filled the classroom and I inhaled deeply, loving the fragrance. There was nothing like it back then, and to me, there isn't anything like it today.

I pass a lilac bush on my walk each day and I always stop to smell the flowers because in a few day's time, that wonderful scent will be gone until next year.

That got me to thinking how in my stories I need to make sure I incorporate as many of the five senses as possible. My current project takes place during spring in my hometown, and I became excited as I realized the novel concludes during May. I'll be able to bring my very precious memory of springtime in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin to the story.

No matter what the season your stories take place, be sure to bring in as many of the five senses as possible. The smell of a burning fireplace as your character walks outside on a cold winter's night. In summer, the scent of suntan oil on a hot beach. When I think of fall, the aroma of pumpkin pie baking in the oven conjures of memories of Thanksgivings past. Adding the senses to your story deepens your story and draws the reader closer. If you haven't done so already, be sure to work in smell, touch, hearing, tasting and sight before you turn in that final draft.

Meanwhile, I'd better run outside for one more sniff before the lilacs disappear till next year!

1 comment:

Sharon Hinck said...

Great thoughts, Pamela!
....from a fellow lilac fan