The particular passage in question is at the pinnacle of action in my book, and the heroine is about to remove a large piece of metal from the male lead’s leg.
What, precisely, is that sound?
Trill? Splosh? Splatter? Spurtle? (I like that one!)
Funny thing about using a thesaurus to come up with more word ideas – you actually need an ORIGINAL word idea to be able to look something up. If you’re really just grasping for a word, all the thesauruses in the world won’t be able to tell you what word to put down.
But once you have an idea, you can go down thesaurus road and look up the word, which will likely take you in a number of directions. Being old-school, I have an actual thesaurus on my desk. A paper book. I think it’s the one I used in my High School English class sophomore year.
And, interestingly, slop and splosh take you to splash. Which then gives you splatter and spurtle.
What about other sensory details? One of the most unused in fiction is taste. Think about it – when is the last time a character you were reading about said anything about the TASTE of the food they were eating? Usually there’s plenty of talk about food (sidenote: at least in many books there is. I’m always surprised when a book doesn’t talk about the characters eating at all! While some bodily functions are blessedly missing from most novels, it’s still kind of funny when you realize a novel doesn’t include a word about the food the characters eat. It’s such an easy way to add some great details about setting. You can give the reader clues about the location, environment, socio-economic status of the main cast, etc. just by mentioning what they eat once in a while. But I digress.)
- I kind of liked this PDF that includes an example and a graphic organizer for including sensory details for a piece of writing.
- Another article with several examples and a graphicorganizer (a graphic organizer is a tool often used in teaching writing lessons to children. Apparently sensory details are a hot topic in K-12 education!)
- Great example including mood and emotion.
- This article reminds us not to overdo it, it can be exhausting to try to vicariously live through every sensation a character experiences.
Smells, sounds, taste, touch, and of course sight. What are some ways you can add these sensory details to your writing? And how often will you need to use a thesaurus to help find the exact right word?