Haunted House?

October 20, 2017


Do you plan to visit a haunted house this month for Halloween? If so, take some notes. 


Notes? Yes, notes. Haunted Houses are perfect places to engage in all five senses and learn how to weave them into your writing. The most engaging writing forms when all the five senses are used in a scene: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Sometimes, it is not possible nor does it make sense. But using as many as possible brings a scene alive. 


Movies use sight and sound very well, but as writers, we have a greater capacity to engage more of the senses. Think of a haunted house. What do you see as you are walking through? What do you hear? How do you react to each sound? Then think about the other senses. What does the air smell like? Is there a draft in the room? If you enter a dark chamber, what do your hands touch? Describe how each thing feels. 


The one sense that trips everyone up is taste. While I don't recommend including taste in every scene, sometimes it can be essential in scenes that deal with more than food and drink. Think about it. Taste and smell are very closely linked. Pay attention to how your mouth feels when you smell something odd. Is there a taste that develops? Can you describe it? If so, try putting it into words. 

WRiTING PROMPT: Read a scene you have already written for another project. Circle or highlight words you have used to describe what the character sees, hears, smells, touches, or tastes. In the margin, write the specific sense you used. After your are finished look at what you have written in the margin. Is there a sense that is dominant? Probably so. Read back through your scene another time. Where can you insert more sensory details? Rewrite the scene using more of the senses and then read it again. Note the differences. 




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CAROLYN BENNET FRAISER is a published writer and creative writing instructor in Brevard, North Carolina, where she enjoys helping youth find their passion for writing. 

Carolyn is available to speak to children and youth about creative writing at your school or special event. 

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@ 2019 CAROLYN BENNETT FRAISER. All Rights Reserved.