Writing Tip — Writing with Senses.

babyw-3041366_1280This is the last post in the series by Cyle Young on exploring the five sense in writing and concerns the sense of taste. He provides an exercise to test your descriptive muscles.

Using the sense of taste has limits. While your characters are always seeing and hearing and touching, taste can only be used in certain settings. But if you are able to creatively evoke that sense for your readers, then a scene with taste in it will stand apart from the usual ones employing sight, sound, and touch.

As I mentioned in my post about smell, my main character Junior comes from a poor family and often goest hungry. When he finally gets to sit down to Sunday lunch, biscuits and chicken noodle soup, he thinks it tastes as good as “wild blueberry pie.” When he is battling insomnia, he thinks of his favorite foods, instead of counting sheep. I will revisit that scene to make sure I maximize my taste descriptions. In both scenes, the reader learns about what foods Junior likes, making him seem real.

I can also use food to make my setting seem real. My characters eat pepperoni rolls for lunch. Simply slice or planks of pepperoni wrapped in bread dough, it was invented in West Virginia. Describing local food or food popular during a specific time can aid in imagining an unfamiliar world.

My friend Sandra Melville Hart writes historical romances set during the American Civil War. One her blog, “Historical Nibbles”, she posts about food from that time period and others and tries out recipes like “Mulled Buttermilk” and “Creole Soup.”

How would you use the sense of taste in your writing?


6 thoughts on “Writing Tip — Writing with Senses.

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  1. One of my children’s favorite books is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Farmer Boy”. My daughter especially likes all of the in depth descriptions of the foods that they ate. Often they are described in detail for each meal because Almanzo was apparently always hungry…..something he and my children seem to have in common!!

  2. My WIP is set in WW2, with food rationing and all of that. Sugar is short, so I used the bitterness of unsweetened tea to (hopefully) add some punch to some scenes. The food on the front was interesting to bring in too- nice canned meat sitting in its fat, yummy yum!

    1. The food rationing is not something most people would be familiar with, so it’s great you can use that in your novel. As a preschooler during WW2, my dad remembers going to the butcher withis grandmother and how she would negotiate for meat.

  3. So far I’ve put in the taste if food, blood, bile, a really bad smell, and a few others. It’s dang hard trying to describe odd tastes without referring to another taste. The blinking cursor mocks me… xP

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