Layer the finishing details: Sensory Details.
The mason lathers mortar on the last brick and slaps it in place.
Your eyes widen. Your heart beats a frantic rhythm. A smile lights up your face. “Wow! Hello house!”
You’re excited because you know the end is near. But the house isn’t done yet. Other things need to happen on the inside before you can move in. Final tasks like painting, installing cabinets and appliances.
The same goes for our writing. We’ve cemented our foundation and joined cohesive elements, but for our story to light up our readers, we must add some finishing touches.
Layer sensory details.
Think back to the last time you received new prescription lenses. How much clearer, more sharp or vivid, was your vision after putting on the new lenses? Sprinkling sensory details makes our writing crisp, brings it into focus, and makes the story literally dance off the page.
Let’s have some fun.
How many sensory details can you find in this excerpt from Journey’s Edge?
Her face plowed into an expansive, muscular chest. Strong hands grabbed McKinley’s upper arms. A vague, familiar smell permeated the man’s torso, a citrus and woodsy scent mingled with masculine deodorant. She heard the door close behind her and felt legs wimp out on her. Good thing this guy held her up or she would have sank straight to the floor like a pile of spaghetti. She angled a hand to eject chest hair from her tongue, trying not to make a face.
“Honey, if you’re looking for that kind of action, you’ve got the wrong room.”
Now you try it. In one or two paragraphs, write the following scene with as many sensory details as you can fit in.
After crying herself to sleep, the next morning Delaney follows the scent of coffee and stumbles into her tiny kitchen, frightened to find a man making chocolate chip pancakes. She didn’t know that Sage, a friend she’s secretly been in love with forever, spent the night on the couch.
Give it a shot. You know you want to try…
Join us next week as we celebrate success, hold a Housewarming Party, and consider our next project.