Senses in Writing: Tasting the Invisible Tastes



This is a fairly specific and rarely used sense because it involves the mouth.  Eyes, ears, and nose have some range.  You’re always touching something.  Yet, the sense of taste needs to be stimulated at close range.  Does this mean that it should never be utilized?  Nope and I’ll go right into the tips to show why:

  1. Food!  Do I really have to explain this one?
  2. You ever smell something and it triggers a taste in your mouth?  This goes back to the smell/memory connection.  You can increase an aroma by combining it with the taste that it evokes.
  3. Remember that certain taste-based words can be used to describe emotions.  The bitterness of defeat.  The sweet taste of success. The sour taste of fear.  Not sure if that last one is a thing, but readers have strong connections to taste-based words.  It’s very easy to figure out because most people have come across things that are sweet, sour, bitter, spicy, tart, etc.
  4. Sometimes a strong emotion can create a taste in the mouth.  I’ve read a few stories where fear sets off a metallic flavor.  A strange usage, but it can show a very visceral reaction to something.
  5. Anything that falls in the mouth will have a taste.  Cigars and cigarettes can have a flavor aspect.  Sweat falling into the mouth while the character is hiding from an enemy.  Basically, if it hits the tongue then you can use it to help set the mood.
  6. Licking people is always creepy, especially when the person seems to enjoy the taste.
  7. Even if the sense isn’t being used, characters can talk about the foods and flavors that they like or hate.  For example, there is a character in ‘Love Hina’ who hates sweet foods, so she only has them by force.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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19 Responses to Senses in Writing: Tasting the Invisible Tastes

  1. Wonderful post! I’m always trying to get more sensory perception into my writing.


  2. Great post, in my opinion everything up for grabs when writing, why should any of the senses be off limits including taste.


  3. Bastet says:

    Now you’ve got me wondering what the taste of fear is … Great post!


  4. The challenge, as always, is to use the senses increative and interesting ways rather than tired old ones.


  5. #2 Reminds me of a really cool scratch-n-sniff book. Shrek! 🙂


  6. Thought provoking topic. Well done Charles.


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