See It, Smell It, Taste It, Hear It…

By Megan DiMaria

I recently read a story that left me wholly unsatisfied. The author skimped on writing in the sensory details. I felt disoriented while reading and found myself eager to be finished.
Beaver Creek 2007 001
When I read, either fiction or non-fiction, I need to feel as if I’m dropped into the scene and can experience what the character can experience.

The photo on the left is taken from the window of a luxury resort in Beaver Creek, Colorado. (I cashed in lots and lots of loyalty points to enjoy a few days in the Rockies.)

If I were reading a scene that takes place in that resort I’d like to know what the room looked like. How did the luxurious bedding feel to a weary body? How big were the windows, and what kind of shadows fell across the floor? How did the wind sing as it wove its way through the pines? Can you hear the whinny of horses as they cart vacationers through the mountain trails? Did the breeze carry the fragrance of pine boughs? What color blue was the sky? How plush was the carpet? What speciality was the hotel’s chef known for?

All those little details woven into the story help to transport the reader. If I take the time to read your book, please transport me.

Conversely, if I’m writing a novel my goal is to pull the reading into the story by using sensory details in the narrative. Here’s a tiny bit from one of my WIPs: Scott stepped forward, and together they strolled over crisp snow. A breeze threaded down the basin through the spindly aspens and pine trees wearing winter’s glitter. The wind stirred up fresh powder, swirling it around them in an icy spray.

I want my reader to feel the chill of the air, the sting of snow on their cheeks, and see the magical beauty of fresh snow on mountain trees.

How about you? What do you hope to experience when you read or write?


megan dimariaMegan DiMaria has been a freelance writer for 20 years and is the author of two women’s fiction novels, Searching for Spice and Out of Her Hands, both of which are set in the Denver area. She is a member of several writers’ groups and enjoys encouraging other writers in their pursuits. Visit Megan online at or at her blog at

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