Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Writing Exercise: USING THE FIVE SENSES, 2

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 another version of my writing exercise called “Using the Five Senses.”
 
Most of us have no trouble writing visual descriptions, but we often forget to include our other senses in our writing. 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.  The following examples are from my book Fox (Morrow Junior Books) now available as an ebook on Amazon.
  • Sight: When most people think of foxes, they picture the red fox, with its large white-tipped tail and brilliant flame-colored fur.
These large pointed teeth cut against each other like the blades of scissors and are good for ripping and tearing.
  • Sound: These high-pitched sounds, called ultrasounds, are made by many of the rodents that are the foxes’ prey.
Foxes bark or growl as warning to one another or to predators that come too close. If a fox is trapped or cornered, it makes croaking noises.
  • Touch: Each month-old pup weighs about a pound, and its short newborn coat is covered with soft light-colored fur.
  • Smell: One sign of a fox’s readiness to mate is a strong skunk-like odor in its urine.
Like other canids, a fox has a scent gland underneath its tail that produces a strong musky odor.
  • Taste: When the pups are about two weeks old, their first teeth come in. About a week later, they begin to suck and chew at the pieces of meat their parents have brought back to the den.
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!

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