Evocative Writing Uses All Five Senses and Sometimes the Sixth
Published on November 8, 2011 by lahilden | Views: 1382


An important aspect in any story is where the story takes place, the setting.  Of course as writers, we all know this, but not every writer has the ability to pull their readers into the scene and make the story come to life.  Accuracy is necessary in any setting, so be sure to do your research. 

When a writer imagines a setting, they need to imagine how the human senses are evoked in the setting they place their reader.  Describe the feel of the sofa your heroine’s sitting on.  Give your readers information so they too can almost smell the musky scent of male and shaving soap from your hero’s brawny neck. 

Keep the senses in mind when you write.

-          Visual-see (a characters appearance)

-          Aural- hear (the sound of a characters voice, tone, volume, and word choice)

-          Olfactory-smell (the smell of perfume, food, smoke, etc)

-          Tactile-touch (a characters skin, the fabric of a sofa, a person’s attire)

-          Gustatory-taste (spicy, sweet, etc)

-          Sixth Sense-also called second sight (uncanny intuition.  Sixth sense, or subtle perception ability, is our ability to perceive the subtle dimension or the unseen world of angels, ghosts, heaven, etc.  It also includes our ability to understand the subtle cause and effect relationship behind many events, which is beyond the understanding of the intellect.)  Keep in mind if you use the sixth sense too often, your book could be considered a paranormal. 

Scatter these descriptions so you are not giving too much detail at once.  It’s not necessary to use all five senses at the same time.  Study a scene and see which ones are essential.

Writers often use only sight and sound, but this limits the feelings you could be evoking in your readers.  Many writers underuse the senses, but your writing will be enriched if your readers can see and feel the scene you describe.  Concrete sensory detail connects the reader to the story by providing him or her with recognizable things, thus making the story’s environment seem real.