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Day 1

Sensory writing appeals to the 5 senses to

engage a reader’s interest.

When you use sensory details, your readers can

personally experience whatever you’re trying to
How might your reading experience change when you read sensory writing?
Sensory words are more powerful and memorable than
ordinary words because they make your reader see, hear,
smell, taste, or feel your words.

When reading non-sensory words, your brain processes text. But

when you read sensory words, different areas of your brain light up.
Your brain processes sensory words as if you taste a sweet cake, as
if you see a dazzling display of colors, as if you feel a rough texture.
Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood
by Alexandra Fuller

While we read together, you should look for:

- Sentences that stand out to you because they are powerful or

- Examples of language that engage your sense of sound
15 “The other thing I can’t know about Africa until I have left (and heard the sound of other, colder,
quieter, more insulated places) is her noise. . . .
In the hot, slow time of day when time and sun and thought slow to a dragging, shallow, pale
crawl, there is the sound of heat. The grasshoppers and crickets sing and whine. Dying grass crackles.
Dogs pant. There is the sound of breath and breathing, of an entire world collapsed under the apathy of
20 the tropics. And at four o’clock, when the sun at last has started to slide west, and cool waves of air are
mixed with the heat, there is the shuffling sound of animals coming back into action to secure
themselves for the night. Cows lowing to their babies, the high-honeyed call of the cattle boys singing
“Dip! Dip-dip-dip-dip” as they herd the animals to the home paddocks. Dogs rising from stunned
afternoon sleep and whining for their walk.
25 The night creatures (which take over from the chattering, roosting birds at dusk) saw and hum
with such persistence that the human brain is forced to translate the song into pulse. Night apes, owls,
nightjars, jackals, hyenas; these animals have the woo-ooping, sweeping, land-travelling calls that add
an eerie mystery to the night. Frogs throb, impossibly loud for such small bodies.”
Why Should I Write About Sound?

To give a concrete and credible effect to your writing,

sounds should be incorporated to help the reader
imagine the events or situations you write about.
How Can I Write About Sound?

● Alliteration
● Onomatopoeia
● Hyperbole
● Personification
Personification is a figurative element that attributes human
thoughts, actions, characteristics or emotions to something that is
not human.

“The fire hissed softly and the log shifted with a little shower of sparks.”

“A faint electrical hum in the background.”

“The motorcycle roared as it traveled down the street.”

Personification Practice
The soft chair wrapped its padded arms around Lisa.

The dog barked loudly at the squirrel, which quickly ran up the tree.

The eyes of the lady’s portrait followed Jean around the room, waiting for a misdeed.

The stairs groaned in agony as Philip carried the heavy boxes to the attic.

The wind blew steady for three days before the hurricane reached the shore.

The coins sang happily in Tom’s pocket.

The week before the party seemed very long to Ellen.

The ship sailed smoothly across the calm, blue lake.

Wearing a top hat and bow tie, the rabbit bowed politely to the turtle.
Audio Activity

1) Listen to this audio clip and create a list of the sounds

you hear.

2) The second time we listen to this audio clip, begin

describing what you hear with sensory language. Refer to
the Sound Words Handout if necessary.

Use personification in your description!

Day 2

Adjectives are fine, but

they can sometimes be

Comparisons help
your reader to
experience what you
“Food?” Chris inquired, popping out of his seat like a toaster strudel.

“She hung her head like a dying flower.”

“The ice sculptor’s hands fluttered like hummingbird wings.”

“Paula carried her science project to school like she was transporting explosive glass.”

“The town square was buzzing like a beehive.”

"She was fishing for
The woman isn't literally casting a lure to hook
compliments out of the ocean. Rather, it's a
metaphor used to signify a desire for positive

"You light up my life."

Of course, no one can provide physical light. This
expression is simply saying that someone brings
them joy.

"She's going through a

rollercoaster of emotions."
Our emotions can't take a ride on a rollercoaster.
This metaphor simply means the person's going
through a lot of different moods.
Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood
by Alexandra Fuller

While we read together, you should look for:

- Sentences that stand out to you because they are powerful or

- Examples of language that engage your sense of smell
- Any simile(s) or metaphor(s) you might find that describe a
1 “What I can’t know about Africa as a child (because I have no
memory of any other place) is her smell; hot, sweet, smoky,
salty, sharp-soft. It is like black tea, cut tobacco, fresh fire, old
sweat, young grass. When, years later, I leave the continent for
5 the first time and arrive in the damp wool sock of London
Heathrow, I am (as soon as I poke my head up from the
intestinal process of travel) most struck not by the sight, but by
the smell of England. How flat-empty it is; car fumes, concrete,
10 street-wet.”
Why Should I Write About Smells?
Smells are evocative; they have the power to change our moods,
take us back to a specific place in our lives, or remind us of
long-forgotten memories.

Smells can make us wistful, melancholic, joyful and nostalgic.

Of all the senses, smell has the strongest psychological effect. The mere
mention of a smell evokes memories and triggers associations in the
reader’s subconscious.
How Do I Write About Smells?
● The place reeked/stank of [___] and [___].
● The odors of [___] and [___] mingled with the smells of [___] and [___].
● Her nostrils detected a whiff of [___] beneath the smells of [___] and [___].
● The smell of [___] warred with the stronger odor of [___].
● The air was rich with the scents of [___] and [___].
● The smell of [___] failed to mask the stench of [___].
● The stench of [___] hit him first, followed by the odor of [___].
● Beneath the scent of [___] lay the more ominous odors of [___] and [___].
● The scents of [___] and [___] greeted her.
● The smells of [___] and [___] made his mouth water.
● He braced himself against the stench of [___] and [___].
Writing About Smells: Examples
“The air reeked of hot metal, overheated electronic components, scorched insulation –
and gasoline.” (Dean Koontz: The Bad Place)

“The air held the warm odours of honey and earth, of pine resin and goat sweat,
mingled with the scents of frying oil and spice.” (Rayne Hall: Storm Dancer)

“I took a couple of deep breaths, smelled rain, diesel and the pungent
dead-fish-and-salt stench off the river.” (Devon Monk: Magic to the Bone)

“The room smelled like stale smoke and Italian salad dressing.” (Michael Connelly: The Poet)
Why Should I Write About Taste?
As human beings, we have an intense relationship with food in one way or
another. There are countless television shows dedicated to food, magazines
about food on the shelves, books, blogs, and discussions at the lunchroom
table about what everyone ate for dinner last night.

Do not underestimate the power of writing about food.

Food is primal. Food is life. By adding descriptions of taste, you’ll deepen your readers’
experience of your work.
How Can I Write About Taste?
Most writers convey a flavor by comparing it with something else.
How can we make comparisons?

The other way, using adjectives, can be just as effective. The range
of adjectives to describe taste is slightly limited, though, and too
many can overload your writing. Succulent, aromatic, savory,
fragrant are a few examples of taste adjectives.

Avoid using words like “delicious” and “yummy”

What’s That Smell?
With your group members, come up with a description for your
car hang tag. Use similes or metaphors (or both!) to describe the
smell. Other groups will try to guess the smell of your hangtag
based on your description.

IMPORTANT: Whisper!!! Keep your volume low so other groups

can’t overhear you describing your smell.
Food Critic Activity!
Your job is to write brutally honest reviews of the foods I show
you. You will have a few minutes to write each review. You have
the choice to write positive or negative reviews about the food -
just remember to be creative and use similes and/or
metaphors to improve your descriptive sensory writing!
Hawaiian Pizza (ham + pineapple)
Ice Cream Sundae
Day 3
Why Should I Write About Touch (Textures)?
Even if we don't realise it, we're always touching something. Our
clothes. A keyboard. The pages of a book. The sense of touch is

Your sense of touch can tell you so much more than just if you made
contact with an object. For example, is the surface you are touching
rough or smooth? Is it hot or cold? Is it dry or wet? Is it still or
vibrating? Your body is able to sense pressure, vibration,
temperature, and pain.

Why should we write about textures? When should we write about textures?
How Can I Write About Touch (Textures)?

Touch can be nice, like the feel of cool cotton sheets on a summer night.

Touch can be painful, like being head-butted on the nose.

Textures might be divided into two categories, namely, tactile and visual textures.
Tactile textures refer to the immediate tangible feel of a surface. Visual textures
refer to the visual impression that textures produce to human observer.
Describing Setting with Touch
The ground under your feet. Is it hard, soft, rough, spongey, treacherous or
shifting as they walk?

The sun on your skin. Is it weak, scorching, burning, diluted, or perhaps absent?

The wind on your arms. Is it caressing them softly or savagely whipping at your
clothes? Is there no wind at all?

The moisture in the air. Is it damp and humid or dry and arid?

The texture of the closest object under your hand. Is it the rough bark of a tree
or the cool smoothness of hospital walls?
Describe That Texture
Your job during this activity is to describe the texture of 6
different items. You should refer to your “Touch Words
Handout” for inspiration as needed. Try to incorporate
similes and/or metaphors when appropriate.
Day 4
Why Should I Write About Sight?

It is important for your readers to visualize what you’re writing

about. What was the scenery like? What does someone or
something look like? If your readers can’t visualize what you write
about, you might totally lose their interest.
How Can I Write About Sight?

Use color, form, light, and shadow to write descriptions that

help readers see what writers see.
Imagery is the literary term used for language and description that appeals
to our five senses.

When a writer attempts to describe something so that it appeals to our sense

of smell, sight, taste, touch, or hearing; he/she has used imagery. Often,
imagery is built on other literary devices, such as simile and metaphor, as the
author uses comparisons to appeal to our senses.

We use our past experiences, imagination and intelligence to picture new

sights that are described in writing.
How Do You Identify Imagery in Writing?

An image is unified description of a person, thing, or human

action. It appeals strongly to any of the five senses, especially
vision. It most likely uses simile and metaphor, and it
might use alliteration, onomatopoeia, and any other
literary device that helps the reader to visualize what is
being described.
Imagery in Music
If you are a fan of music, then imagery surrounds you in songs.

"Slow Dancing in a Burning Room," John Mayer

We're goin' down and you can see it too

We're goin' down and you know that we're doomed

My dear, we're slow dancing in a burnin' room

Imagery in Music
"River," Eminem and Ed Sheeran
Always the bridesmaid, never "The bride, hey!"

What can I say? If life was a highway

And deceit was an enclave, I'd be swerving in five lanes

Speeds at a high rate, like I'm slidin' on ice

A Walk in the Woods
Are the trees tall or short? Do they have leaves? Is it day or night? What season is it?
What animal did you walk up to? What happened as you approached the animal?

What does the house look like? Is it big or small? Is it new or rundown? Is it fenced in
or not?

What does the door look like? Are there any lights on? What’s on the table? Is it food?
Old mail? Garbage?

What does the cup look like? What color is it? Is it new or old? Is it broken or
undamaged? Does it have a decoration or design on it?

What kind of body of water did you picture? River, lake, stream, ocean? Is the water
blue? Is it saltwater or fresh-water? Is it calm or are there waves?
Postcard Activity Instructions
1. What visual observations can you make? What is in your image?
Consider colors, shapes, weather, textures, smells, sounds etc. in
addition to objects/buildings you notice. If you recognize a
landmark in your image, try to describe it without using its name or
2. Describe the image shown on the postcard to your partner using
sensory language to help them visualize it. It will be interesting to
see if your partner’s mental image matches the actual image on the