Sitting on our patio here in Playa Flamenca, Spain on a hot, sunny day, with a gentle breeze blowing, is a pleasant experience, as you can imagine…and I took to musing (as one does) about our five senses. Being a naturally sunny country, its vibrancy is accentuated by plants and flowers that are feasts for the eyes. Vivid purple and cerise Bougainvillea, yellow, pink and bronze Lantana, and plate-sized scarlet Hibiscus, to name but three. Arguably one of our most precious senses: our sight, is treated to a mind-boggling variety of shades, colours, shapes, sizes and sights from day one, wherever we live. And the colour of our parents/lovers/siblings et al’s eyes must be up there in the heights, as is watching the unfolding moods of nature; the aerial displays of the humble Swift, the emergence of a butterfly from a chrysalis, or a Turner-like sunset. Sound follows swiftly on sight’s heels for, what a loss it would be not to hear the sound of laughter or whatever music turns you on. And oh, how a description of whatever sound is needed brings a prosaic scene to auditory life! Touch and smell are nearly as important; as is taste. Anyone who saw the bawdy, entertaining film ‘Tom Jones,’ must recall a scene where the protagonists are eating a meal in such a sexually suggestive manner that the only word to describe it is salacious!
And yet some writers seem shy of making the most of these gifts. Less is sometimes more, but our five senses are part of our everyday existence. Using them to get the mood and scene right for any genre is a must (albeit subtly): be it a saga, a light-hearted romance, supernatural, mystery, or murder story. Regarding the latter, this is when sounds and weather conditions come into their own; although a bloody murder on a sunny day is not unusual and can come as more of a surprise! A thunderstorm or creaking door can suggest something sinister but can also be a bit of a cliche! We should all strive to be as original and creative as we can.