Most of us will immediately default to describing how something looks. Of course, it is necessary to give our readers a visual when we paint a picture of whatever we are describing whether that be a person, place or thing. However, limiting oneself to a visual perspective of your ancestor, place or object provides us with a one-dimensional view.
You also need to describe how the ancestor, place or object will sound, taste, smell and feel to the touch. You don’t need to arouse every single sense with everything you describe. That would be too much. But it’s about realizing that describing things in a different way can provide an opportunity for more powerful writing.
The picture you intend to paint with your descriptive writing should bring your writing to life. Therefore, is should also be about how things sound, smell, taste, and touch.
Great description engages all of the senses.
Here is a look at an ancestor description from a visual viewpoint
These are perfectly fine descriptions except that they engage only the sense of sight creating one-dimensional writing that can become boring and tedious.
Here are some other ways I could describe an ancestor.
The same applies to describing your story setting or an object. These descriptions all appeal to the sense of sight.
Now let’s look at our other senses.
Evoking all of the senses in a passage of descriptive writing is a simple way of making your description multi-dimensional. And you know what? It doesn’t take a lot of extra work.
(Tomorrow, in part 2, we examine each of the five senses.)
Write a description of your surroundings. Pay attention not only to what you see but to what you smell, hear, feel, etc. Write for 10 minutes. In that time, you might choose to capture everything around you on the page or to focus on just one aspect of your surroundings. Either way, go deep. Help us feel what it’s like to be where you are at the moment of your writing.