Sounds, Scents, and How to Use Them in Your Writing

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the sounds that go into writing.  Sound is important.  It’s all around us.  Right now, as I write this I can hear the dishwasher running, Dora the Explorer playing on the television (My nieces seem to dominate the television.), and my sister mixing paint on a paper plate.  My nieces are chattering, and my nephew is cooing.  But, sometimes we, as writers, get too focused on the plot and characters that we forget the sounds of the setting.  I, myself, am guilty of this.  I’m on my second revision of my novel, and I can honestly say that I’m not sure what sounds I have written into it.

So, how do you go about remembering to add sounds into your writing?

Sounds are important.  Just sit and listen to your surroundings.  Sit outside during the day and then at night and write down what you hear.  There’s a huge difference between day and night sounds.  Living in the country, I can definitely attest to that.

Take what you hear and write it into your story.   Always keep in mind that sound is an integral part of setting.  Setting is everything around your character.  Place, time, smell and sound.

The same goes for smell.  Say your character is sitting in a restaurant.  What does he or she smell?  A food s/he likes?  Or a food s/he detests?  Does it make s/he sick or hungry?

Take situations like this and write it down in a journal or a notebook all of your writing’s in.  Write what your character smells, hears and sees while sitting in different locations such as the park, a restaurant, a house whether it be their own or someone else’s.

Use these prompts to keep in mind how important sounds and smells are in our everyday world.

How do you use sounds and smells in your writing?


4 thoughts on “Sounds, Scents, and How to Use Them in Your Writing

    1. Emerald Barnes

      Thanks for stopping by! I understand. I think about them at times, but when I get in my writing mode, I get distracted by plot and character and need to work on my setting more, especially with these two elements. And thanks 🙂 That was one of my favorite pictures my sister took. She is very talented, and I appreciate her letting me use her pictures! Take care!


  1. One of the most difficult (and therefore interesting) scenes that I’ve ever written was focused on exactly this. My POV character was temporarily blinded, and had to flee across a city by foot, avoiding other bad guys, with the help of only a man that he barely knew. Writing an entire action-sequence without the aid of the charcter’s sight was really challenging, and I’m not sure that I completely nailed it. But it was good practice for writing sounds, smells, tastes and textures into other writing.


    1. That’s a perfect writing challenge to developing scents and sounds! I bet it was difficult though. Ever since I wrote this blog post, I have been more careful in writing sounds. I’m still working with my use of scent though. It’s just so hard to remember! As I said in the post, I get too plot focused and character driven to even remember my setting sometimes! Thanks for stopping by! I’ve enjoyed hearing from you!


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