Adding Taste to Your Writing

Today we’re taking a closer look at the senses, specifically how to incorporate the sense of taste in your writing. What do your characters taste? Do you ever think about that when you’re putting that story to paper?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAGranted, it usually comes more naturally to write about what your character sees or hears or even smells. But taste? That can be a tough one because we don’t always have food scenes in our stories.

But … food isn’t always the only thing we taste, is it? What if your character gets in a fight and the other guy busts him in the mouth? Think your guy will taste blood? Pretty likely. How does that blood taste? I’ve often read stories when the author described the taste of blood as metallic. Do you know why your blood tastes like metal? It’s because of the iron in it (your science tidbit of the day). Saying the blood tastes “metallic” or “like metal” might be accurate, but the next time your character’s mouth is bleeding, try to push your creativity to the next level and come up with a description of your own instead of one borrowed from another story. How about:

  • sharp
  • tangy
  • like the keys your character stuck in his mouth when he was 3

And then there are the times when your character does actually eat something. That’s the perfect time to slip in a couple of details about the food and add another layer to your storytelling.

Imagine it’s a cool fall day, and your character plucks an apple from the tree. She bites into it. Yum, it’s crisp and juicy. How does it taste? Tart like a green Granny Smith apple? Smooth and mellow like a Golden Delicious? Or in between like a Fuji – with a little kick to it, but not sour?

Just like when you include details about the other senses, whatever you write about taste doesn’t have to be long or super involved. It just needs to get the idea across, so your reader gets pulled a little deeper into the story.

And, who knows? Writing about food just might call for some taste testing of your own so you can describe it just right. 🙂

Your turn: Imagine you’re eating your favorite food. How would you describe its taste to someone who’s never tried it?

For more on including the senses in your writing, check out my posts on sight, smell, and making sense of senses.

Happy writing!

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