Writing Tip: Sensory Detail

Use as much sensory detail in your writing as possible. Einstein said, “God lives in the details,” and he was right. If you always use generalities instead of specifics, if you always tell and never show, don’t be surprised if your readers yawn and move on. Your readers’ emotions are activated if they feel they are “really there.” Don’t write flower, write daffodil. Don’t write that it was amazing, write that your dentures fell out of your mouth. If you are writing about a cross-country car trip, don’t write “we jumped in the car and took off”, write “we jumped in the Jaguar and sped off” or “we piled in the pick-up truck and rattled away.” (These are quite different trips, aren’t they?) And don’t get stuck on how things look – remember you have five senses (maybe more). Include what it smells like, feels like, sounds like, tastes like. Sensory details elicit emotions in the reader. Emotions lead to action or change.

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