Descriptive Reporting of Sensations: An Exercise


In the last few blogs I have been discussing ways to improve your descriptions by including reports about colors and hearing.

In this post of my blog, I would like to suggest an exercise that will help you to gather more information about describing the five senses in your writing.


Choose a setting

Sit outdoors in your backyard, the park, or just your favorite place. Close your eyes to start with, then as the time goes by, open them for the rest of the exercise. As you sit there, consider what sensations are bombarding you and how you could report those feelings in your writing.

  1. First think about taste: Is your mouth/lips wet or dry? What tastes linger in your mouth? Does the setting you picked remind you of foods you have eaten there or somewhere similar?
  2. Next consider what you hear: Car noise? Mowers? Sirens? Dogs barking? Describe them – Is the sound of a car like v-room, or is it a purr, or growl? Is the noise of a leaf blowing on the ground: Scraping? Rustling? Whispering? Be as specific as possible in interpreting the noise.
  3. It’s time to think about what you are smelling – describe the odor as specifically as possible: Sweet? Fresh? Smoky? Does it bring to mind good things, or not so good things? How do your nostrils feel as they are taking in the smell?
  4. Time to open your eyes and describe what you see? What are the colors? What are the objects? The people or animals? Describe them as thoroughly as possible.
  5. Lastly, consider what you are physically feeling as you are sitting and observing all the things around you. Again be as specific as possible.

Now take out your notebook and write down all your observations. Take all the notes you have written and write a story or poem about the experience. Great practice for showing not telling.

I’d love to have you share  your experience with this exercise! Feel free to comment below.

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