Rely on your senses to create a mood in your story
Published: September 17, 2009
|How important do you think it really is to incorporate the five senses--taste, touch, smell, hearing, and seeing--into every scene? |
The key word in your question is "every." Incorporating all senses into every scene probably isn't practical, but including more than the visual is a way of viscerally connecting your reader to your story. In addition, the use of the senses adds a sense of verisimilitude (making something appear real). By using examples that are familiar to your reader, you'll provide a sense of them being right there in the scene.
Some scenes are intrinsically visual--for example, a couple hiking up a mountain trail with a dog. To describe only the visual, however, renders the scene as one-dimensional.
What do the people in the scene hear? Birds, flowing water in a creek, the rustle of wind in the trees, other hikers? You can dramatically change the mood of the piece by focusing on a particular sound.
Touch can also add texture to the scene with the tiny mention of a character being scratched by the brush or touching the fragile petal of a flower. Again, mood can be intensified by the choices you make.
Smell is perhaps the strongest sense of them all and certainly evokes the deepest memories and feelings. Back to the couple walking through the forest: Do they smell the pine or the mustiness of decaying leaves? Rain or dust?
As an exercise, imagine that you've walked into any of the following places. Write a page incorporating all the senses about you what you find: Your grandmother's house. The veterinary office. The dentist's office. McDonalds. A baby's room. A flower shop.
Do the exercise again, this time incorporating the five senses to evoke a particular mood, such as sorrow, anger, disappointment, fear, or anticipation.