21 Ways to Embellish Your Scenes

Welcome back to the blog. Our second Monday of the month guest post is late because I was sick last week. By the time I felt well enough to do anything online it made more sense to post it for today. Today we have Cyndi Faria on the blog talking about scenes!

Here’s Cyndi!

As always, I’m excited to guest blog for Guelph Write Now. I’d like to thank Cindy Carroll for having me. Last month, I participated in a writing challenge called National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The object of the challenge was to write a 50k novel. With that complete, the month of December is titled National Novel Editing Month (NaNoEdMo), and I’m editing my heart out.

Sometimes, however, I need help making sure my scenes have certain elements. By creating a check list, I can embellish each scene until it sparkles!

Lucky for you, I love to share my writing craft tips. Next time you’re editing, make sure you include in each scene a good sampling of the bullet point items below. Then watch your scene shine!

  1. Touch
  2. Taste
  3. Sight
  4. Smell
  5. Hearing
  6. Temperature
  7. Pain
  8. Balance
  9. Motion
  10. Acceleration
  11. Time
  12. Direction
  13. Breathing
  14. Heart Rate
  15. Vasodilatation (flushing and blushing)
  16. Intestinal Distress
  17. Swallowing
  18. Ethics
  19. Humor (funny or sarcastic)
  20. Style
  21. Mannerisms.

To download a PDF of the Scene Embellishment List (shown below), click here.

Scene Embellishment

Cindy here again!

Great tips, Cyndi. I love that checklist. It’s great to have handy when you’re doing revisions.

Happy writing!


Bringing in the Senses – by Brenna Zinn

Thanks for stopping by the blog today! I’ve got author Brenna Zinn visiting this fine Wednesday to talk about using the senses in your writing.

Take it away Brenna!

Ever run across the sweet, heady smell of honeysuckle while driving in the country? Can you close your eyes and visualize the vibrant reds and pinks of a sunset, or the pale greens of a newly budded tree? Can you imagine the brush of a feather against the backside of your knee? When you think about licking a freshly cut lemon and allowing its tangy juice to linger on your tongue, does your mouth water? Does the sound of honking of horns and screech of tires make you cringe?

Now think about what you’ve just read and how those words affected your senses. Did you smell the honeysuckle? See the reds, oranges, and greens? How about that lemon? Could you almost taste it?

The human mind tends to react to sensory suggestions, even suggestions taken in through written words. After a person experiences a sound, touch, taste, etc., the mere mention of the experienced sense can quickly evoke a sensory response.

For a writer, this is powerful information. Why? Because you can control what your readers see, smell, taste, hear, and feel simply by choosing one word over another. For example, consider the impact of changing just a few words in the following sentences.


I rubbed my hand against the furry softness of the cashmere sweater.

I rubbed my hand against the slick, almost wet skin of the snake.

I opened the door and was nearly knocked down by the oppressive heat and humidity.

I opened the door and was nearly knocked down by the frigid north wind.


Below are two paragraphs from my current work-in-progress. At least three senses (sight, sound, touch) are used to help my reader get into the scene.

     Dagger parked the Vette alongside the white picket fence framing the front yard of the Benson’s conch house. The old two story home, a combination of Victorian and Bahamian style architectures, had been built by someone in the Benson family over a hundred years ago and had stayed in the family since. Though the home was ancient, the paint job wasn’t. The last time he’d been here, the house had been a bright yellow. Now a light blue with bright white gingerbread trim, the place had never looked better.
     The sound of music drifted from somewhere inside the house as soon as Dagger killed the engine. Strolling up the steps to the covered veranda, he could feel the twangy beats of some country song vibrating over his skin. He knocked on the door several times knowing good and well no one inside could possibly hear his arrival over the din, then let himself in.

When you write, carefully sprinkle in sensory words to for greater reader involvement. You want the readers to experience what your heroines and heroes experience and become immersed in their story. If you can coax the people who buy your books to completely lose themselves in the make-believe worlds of your stories, maybe they’ll come back for more.

Me again.

Great advice, Brenna! Don’t forget to check out Brenna’s website at http://www.brennazinn.com. And follow her on Twitter @BrennaZinn.

How about you? Do you work to put the senses in your writing? Do you stick mostly with sight and sound?

Happy writing!


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