Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Writing Exercise: USING THE FIVE SENSES, 1

I recently cleaned out my files and found various materials that I had used when teaching my class in writing for children in the UCLA Writer’s Program. Here is a writing exercise called “Using the Five Senses, 1.” (Another example of this exercise will post next week.)
Most of us have no trouble writing visual descriptions, but we often forget to include our other senses in our descriptions.  This exercise focuses on using all five senses to make your writing come alive.  Choose an object, place, person, or animal, and write five sentences about it, one sentence (or two) for each sense-- sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. 

Here are some examples from my book A Walrus’ World.
  •     Sight: The baby walrus’ plump body is covered with short fur.
  •     Smell: The mother walrus sniffs her baby and rubs his back with her whiskers.
  •     Sound: Splash! He tumbles into the water. Splash! His mother dives in too.
  •     Touch: Using her whiskers, she feels a clam.  Then she grabs the shell with her lips and sucks out the meat.
  •     Taste: Their sleek bodies slide through the cool, salty water.  (From A Killer Whale’s World.)
You can write more complex descriptions if you like.  The important thing is to immerse yourself in the scene and use all your senses to convey the essence of that scene to your reader.  To find out if you are using sensory descriptions in your writing, go through one of your stories with a highlighter, and mark each time you use one of your senses.  Note which sense you use most often!

A Walrus’ World and A Killer Whale’s World are in my series Caroline Arnold’s Animals published by Picture Window Books (Capstone.) 
Illustration by Caroline Arnold from A Killer Whale's World

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