I was doing some writing a while back and got a comment about the good detail in a certain scene with the exception of one part. And which part was that? The smell that was happening at the time.
As I’ve written before, I tend to write like I’m directly transcribing a visual medium. That means I’ll get down the sight and sounds. But the world has many more senses. Taste, touch and smell are all important for making a complete scene and really transporting your readers into the story.
I need to get into the habit of considering all five senses when making scenes, especially if there would logically be strong odors around. Sight and sound come naturally to me. Often times, I go way too much into sight while I will give the general noises of the area such as chattering of people or creaking of machinery.
For touch, that gets included a lot as well, but only when the characters are actually touching things. That makes sense. Get it? Yeah… But try to consider what the character is touching. For example, is that stone statue smooth? rough? cold? damp? anything else? Just details adding to the feel of actually being there.
Scent and taste are the ones I describe the least, unless there is an eating scene. Admittedly, eating scenes tend to come up a lot, but that’s not the only times people smell or taste things. Machinery would likely have the scent of oil. Particularly strong scents might even be tasted, even the the character never sticks out their tongue. Tasting is partially done by the nose after all.
It doesn’t even have to be that overt. Perhaps simply stating their nose wrinkled would let a reader know that something foul is in the air.
Sometimes, it’s tough to consider those kinds of things if you’ve never been to a place you’re describing and have only seen pictures. You wouldn’t know the five senses of a place, maybe only one or two.
A little bit of research would certainly help sell a location. And maybe you can make a location particularly disturbing by describing a lack of a certain sense that should be there.
Just my mini-observation this week. Consider it. This post is for entertainment purposes only and should not be taken as advice. Do not attempt to construe or miscontrue this as help. I am still learning, after all.