Activity Twenty-One: Sensory Detail
Kim Wilkins congratulates Anthony Eaton on the way he uses material detail as a way of grounding the reader in the setting. And the use of the five senses in creative writing is advice that teachers frequently give students. Anthony Eaton’s unusual twist is that he likes a scene to have a ‘mouthfeel’: he starts with the way he wants a scene to taste (e.g., cold and metallic, salty etc). This taste has a flow onto effect to the way the body reacts physically, e.g., shivering, screwing up the face. Eaton then finds ways of capturing the taste through the other senses (sight, sound, smell, hearing, touch).
a. Study various scenes in the novel and decide what taste Eaton might have had in mind.
b. Students should try using taste as a starting point for their own writing. Use Eaton’s suggestion of sitting quietly for five minutes, simply experiencing the world, and then write. Attempts can be shared and workshopped.