The Five Senses - #4: Taste

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 This isn't going to be a very long chapter, but I'll have at it.

I believe that many writers think the only way to include the sense of taste is to have your character eat something.

That's not true.

If you remember the paragraph I wrote back in the chapter about sight, then you'll recall the "puke-colored walls." This is a very, very subtle way to use the sense of taste, but it works. In the same way, you can use smell to advance your sense of taste.

For example, "The tantalizing aroma of fresh cooked burgers wafted it's way to my nose, causing my mouth to water in hunger."

Can't you just TASTE that burger? Even though the character isn't eating something, she's thinking about food, and through the SMELL of the object, the readers can TASTE it. (Metaphorically, that is. It's probably making your mouth water too, huh?)

Describing things in relation to taste is how you can use it in a discreet way. Such as the puke-colored walls. I could've described them any other way, as just "green" even. But I put the 'Puke' in there. Why? Because puke is absolutely disgusting, and it TASTES awful! This immediately disgusts the reader as they get a taste of puke in their mouth, and they wonder why anyone would ever want puke-colored walls.

Now, when you're describing something the character is eating, sometimes it can be boring if you describe it in too much detail. Because, quite frankly, what she's eating doesn't really matter to the story. (Well, unless it's crucial to the story, then fire away!) Sometimes it's boring to read about how the juicy burger tingled on her tastebugs and made her want more, and the seasonings were just so wonderful.

I don't really like reading this. Quite honestly, I think it's best to avoid over-using taste like this, unless it's helpful to your story. If it's not helpful, your reader will probably be perfectly fine if you just tell us she bit into the burger. We don't really need to know every detail of it.

For me, taste is something to use more when the character isn't actually tasting anything. Weird, I know, and it might be complicated for you to understand.

When you smell the fresh scent of ground coffee beans brewing in a pot, do you taste coffee? I certainly do. I love that smell. You can have your character describe that, and in my opinion that's better than having her taste the coffee.

You know why I think this?

Because, her own cup of coffee is individual. We've never had it. But if you express the scent of coffee beans brewing, we've all smelled that, most likely, in our lifetime. We can all relate, and we all start to want some coffee right now. (I know I do!) But honestly, I don't want her cup of coffee that she's describing as 'oh-so good' because she probably didn't fix it the way I did. I can't relate to her if she doesn't put a bunch of creamer in it.

Of course, there are always going to be people who don't like coffee. At all. Then they might be disgusted by the smell of coffee and not relate to your character who loves it.

Oh. Well.

You can make them relate through other things. If your character loves coffee, then have her love coffee!

And I just got seriously off track.

That's about all I have to say about taste. If you have questions, ask me!!

CHALLENGE: This might be harder to add into your chapters, and you certainly don't have to have it in every single chapter. However, it wouldn't hurt to read through a chapter or two and see if there's anywhere you could exchange out some adjectives for something that induces something tasteful into you reader's mind. You don't have to necessarily be talking about food, but mention something that triggers a type of taste (whether bad or good). 

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