Here goes my first writing challenge. Have you got your work in progress ready to go? Pick a scene that feels really flat to you. (Or make one up if you don’t have a wip)
Now close your eyes. Imagine yourself standing in that room.
What do you see?
That’s easy. It’s the first thing a writer generally talks about because it’s our dominant sense.
What do you hear?
This will probably be easy too. Is there background noise? Silence? Something that stands out as unusual?
What do you smell/taste?
We don’t think about this one as often, but smell can be a powerful tool. Apparently smell is the most evocative sense when it comes to memory, so use it! Does the surrounding area smell pleasant or unpleasant? Does the smell bring up any feelings for the character(s)?
What do you touch/feel?
Are there any pleasant or unpleasant stimuli for the character(s)? How might this distract them or crystallize their emotions? For example, does the chafing of a too-tight shirt cuff remind a character of time spent in chains?
Now, open your eyes, and start to write. Remember to weave these senses into the natural flow of action and dialogue, rather than dumping them into disjointed paragraphs. I’ve heard a rule of thumb that an author should include at least 3 senses in every scene. See how seamlessly you can incorporate them.
And … GO! And don’t forget to share how this exercise worked out for you.