Layering Senses in Writings

Uncategorized, Writing Tips

All of us sometimes feel that the writings we are creating does not have the amount of energy of color or drama or whatever that we require. And there are actually millions of reasons why we can’t see that. A trick I found to make content wonderful (actually colorful) is to use imagery layering. You probably haven’t heard that before but it is a technique many of us use without knowing we are. I’ll try to cover this topic in two to three posts so here is the first one. It is about layering your senses into the writings. It is about feeling like you are in the setting of the story and describing your personal experiences.


Sound effects can be added by using specific sound words that can make the reader hear those words as he reads. Let’s turn to some examples of sound provoking words:

"The chug-chug of the distant rail-engine was fading with the night."

In this above example, the sound has been described by what it seems to be (i.e. chug chug). This is one way of adding sound effects to your writings. Let’s consider another example:

"The wind was roaring."

In this example, the sound has not been described by it’s actual notes rather it has been compared to the roaring of a lion. Let’s change this a bit to make a sub-layer in this layer.

"The roaring wind which was blowing like continuous whip cracks had now silenced to a tranquil breeze."

You see! the sub-layer has heightened the effect of our previous layer i.e. root layer. The roaring of the wind has now been compared to whip-cracks. This is also a kind of indirect layering to the sense of touch. It makes the reader feel the force of the gushes of wind as well as its sound.


The effects of smell can be added be added in the same way, we add ‘smelly-words‘. So let’s head straight to examples:

"The place was stinking."

This is a general and a very simple example. This describes the whole place but we can also narrow the smells to specific things or special places in the big “arena”.

"The horse was filthy and stinking; quite the opposite of the polished and shining floor of the mechanical barn."

We can also describe the smell or the fragrance in the environment due to a specific factor or thing.

"The kitchen smelled of black pepper."

Here black pepper is a kind of factor which has affected the environment of the kitchen.

"The fields were perfumed with roses and lavender."

Here roses and lavender are things which are affecting the environment of the fields.

Sometimes we have to use special Smelly Words to describe the type of the smell. You wouldn’t use fragrance when describing the smell of a rotting fish on the beach and you wouldn’t use stench when describing the smell of flowers. You use different words like aroma, scent, perfume, reek, stench, fragrance, smell, stink etc. to describe different types of smells.


Describing texture is also a very effective way of making the reader feel the textures of the things you are describing. Many writers will use simple words like rough and smooth to describe the surfaces and fail to deliver details to the reader. Let’s head to the examples to see how we can describe texture in different ways.

"The track was coarse."
"The surface of the table was smooth."

These are the very basic examples of describing textures. Let’s get into more detail. One way to do this is the describe the texture physically:

"The metallic body of the tank was further reinforced with intertwined steel ribbons."

Here we described the texture of the body in the way it looked physically. We can also describe the texture of the tank by comparing it to some other thing:

"The metallic body of the tank was further reinforced with steel ribbons which covered it like a spider's net."

Sometimes one sentence is not enough to describe the texture. Moreover, long sentences can sometimes bore the reader so here is a paragraph describing the beauty of the texture of an ancient wooden decoration piece.

"It was an elephant in the first sight. But when I went closer, my brain analyzed the piece and discovered that it was a lot more than a mere elephant. It was a masterpiece. The carvings on it so clearly emphasized the skill of the creator of that magnificent elephant. I ran my finger on the rugged skin of the elephant. Every hair on that microscopically thatched skin stood out and proclaimed it's presence. Then I ran my finger in it's ears and felt the softness of Persian cushions there. I felt every artery and vein that looked almost alive in wooden ear."

So I hope that was useful. Try experimenting them when you free-write. Give me some suggestions abut how I can improve my posts and ask whatever you like. Do all this in the comments. I would like to hear what is the next thing you want me to post about cause I’m running low on my inspiration.


Krona Emmanuel


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