Sensory Details

Show, not tell is one of the key cliché’s of writing. It is the best way to keep from giving too much information too fast, and the best way to keep the details concrete, specific and interesting. Sensory writing is something that I do all the time in my classroom of middle school writers. No matter what genre we are focusing on, the idea of elaboration into the five senses and involving the use of show, not tell always come up.

Example 1:
It was hot. The kind of hot that made it hard to move through the air. When I left the house to walk the twenty feet to the car, I could feel the air pushing back against me; maybe it knew something that I did not. By the time I got in the car I could already feel the drench of the summer on my shirt and in the small curling hair on the nape of my neck.

Example 2:
It was dark now around 9pm. I was in bed staring out the window. Even without glasses on I could see the bright lights of the fire flies dancing in the leaves and branches of the apple trees. I pulled my glasses on slightly, just enough to be able to focus in the lights. They were beautiful random bits that were saturated in a summer evening. The moon was drifting in and out of nighttime clouds as if to play a game of peek a boo with me. Off in the distance, was the sound of someone’s backyard fireworks booming in a most pleasant way.


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