Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Description: Are you using the 5 senses?

It's Day 4 of the A-Z Challenge and the first Wednesday of the month. Happy Insecure Writers' Day! I have to do a quick post here because I hear my 1-year-old stirring in her crib.

Today I'm focusing on writing more engaging descriptions when you're doing the re-write of your work or the first draft. I don't know if anyone's read the book guide, Word Painting by Rebecca McClanahan, but I found it very helpful in terms of deepening the descriptions in my writing.

In a nutshell (sorry about the cliche) are you using the 5 senses when you describe something? I don't know about you but I'm a very visual person so this is the sense I rely on. It's a lot more challenging to describe what something sounds, smells, tastes or feels like.

Here's a challenge. Why don't you write something from the point of view of a blind person? How does doing this transform or deepen your writing?

Now, in terms of my writer's insecurity, all of this reflection on description has made me think about the manuscript I'm currently editing. I think I have a bit more work to do with respect to using the five senses to heighten my descriptions. Oh . . . how the work never ends.

Good Wednesday!


  1. Since this blog is dedicated to Editing I noticed an error in my post. It reads: "I don't know if anyone's read the book guide." It should read, "I don't know if anyone has read the book guide."

    I wouldn't be surprised if there are other grammatical errors. This is what happens when you are a mother of 2 small children and they are demanding your attention right now! LOL.

    1. AMEN! I find errors in my blog posts - but I have a 3yo and a 10mo, and blog posts are squeezed in between tantrums and crying fits. It happens to the best of us.

      Great post! Description is something I always need to remind myself to focus on more.

      Happy Hump Day!
      My D

  2. Using all of the senses is something I am only just learning how to do. It's so important!

  3. This post is a good reminder for us all. I think "taste" is the one I most often forget to use. Hmmm. I'm just starting the final edit on my book, I will really have to keep this in mind while I do that.

  4. Excellent reminder/challenge. I know building in smell and even touch are struggles for me. Good luck with the edits!

  5. Yeah, taste is a tough one. But we can't have our characters licking everything.