Going Deeper in a Scene: Using the Five Senses

You know those books where you feel as though you’re standing right next to the main character? It’s as if you’re experiencing it all yourself instead of merely through reading about it. You’re in the scene. You’re in the moment. And it’s amazing.

But then, you go to write a scene like that and you stutter. How can you create an atmosphere that will have the same effect for your readers? How can you go deep in a scene? How can you make your readers lose themselves in your story so that there’s no return?

Let me tell you.

Using the Five Senses

When you go somewhere for the first time, you’re subconsciously reacting to it through the five senses: touch, hearing, sight, smell, and taste. And this is exactly what your character should be doing as well.

When you bring these senses into a scene, suddenly, the reader can experience it so much more vividly. All at once they’re transported to the moment along with the character and it plunges them in.

If this is a new tactic for you, consider doing some writing exercises where you practice each sense and then bring them all together in a scene. I’ve included some prompts below that will use each sense.

There’s many tips and tricks to engage your reader more. Perhaps through witty dialogue or better prose, the suggestions are endless. But, when it comes down to it, engaging the five senses is the main course of action.

Consider having this in mind next time you go somewhere. Even if it’s not somewhere new, think of your surroundings and what you’re touching, hearing, seeing, smelling, and tasting. This can help you as a writer, especially when you try to engage all the senses next time you write a scene! Having this practice ahead of time can be invaluable.

But don’t feel as though you have to engage all the senses in every scene. I’m talking about scenes where you want to take it to the next level by raising the intensity or taking your readers to a deeper level emotionally. Even then, don’t feel as though you have to engage all five, sometimes one or two is all that’s needed.

If you feel as though you’re saying, “and he touched something wet and heard the sound of a bird and saw a magnificent waterfall…”, yeah… don’t feel that’s necessary. Don’t say it just to say it. If he’s feeling something wet, make that matter to something that’s going to happen later on. Like a bit of foreshadowing! Unless you’re just using it as a touch of description, that’s great too but don’t go overboard.

Most importantly, have fun! If you’re enjoying the scene and really feeling it in your heart, then chances are your readers will too. That’s all that matters.

Your turn!

How do you go deeper in a scene? Do you use the five senses to engage readers in scenes? Did you try out the prompts I included?

Blessings, Allyson

8 thoughts on “Going Deeper in a Scene: Using the Five Senses

  1. Ohhh I LOVE THIS. “Even if it’s not somewhere new, think of your surroundings and what you’re touching, hearing, seeing, smelling, and tasting.” Such a good exercise idea!

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Allyson! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh, yes! Qriting with all 5 senses is hard! Like I tend to lean toward using only one or two…which are sight and sounds, but um, not so much on aohnd anymore after completely a novel that was completely sound free…that was hard! It definitely helped me learn to use the other three senses though! It’s amazing how much different a scene can be by incorporating them.

    Thanks for this amazing reminder post, Allyson!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s for sure!! 😂 I tend to only do sight and sound as well but I’m trying to get better about using different ones so it doesn’t become so generic or feel stale. Ooh! I bet that was hard!! That’s actually a really cool exercise though to really make you use the other senses! Maybe I should try that for a short story or something. 😂 Yes, for sure!

      You’re welcome! Thanks for your comment!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol…well, sight and sound are the first ones to come to mind…
        It was soooo hard, but well worth the effort…lol..I definitely recommend trying it out!


        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, true. They would be the most common to note as well. But still, it’s good to give some variety I think. Fun! I might!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s