Using the Senses in Fiction: Taste

Okay,  I’ve saved the second best for last. Sight being the best. I can’t  imagine not being able to see the faces of those I love, or the sun rising over the Atlantic on a perfect summer morning, or the lush watermelon-red crape myrtle blossoms on the tree outside my office window.  But taste comes in a close second. The juicy pop of sweetness from the season’s first perfectly-ripened strawberries, the salty crunch of popcorn drizzled with real butter. The bite of fresh cilantro in a bowl of salsa.

Here are some words to add to your writing vocabulary when describing taste:

to taste something: bite, savor, sip, taste

to add taste to a recipe: flavor, season, spice

Descriptions of tastes: acid, appetizing, biting, bitter, bland, briny, candied,cloying, curdled, delicious, flavored, flavorless, gingery, honeyed, hot, luscious, savory, stale, sugary, sweet, tangy, tart, tasty, mellow, palatable, peppery, pickled, ripe, rotten, salty, sour, sharp, spicy,syrupy, toothsome,  unappetizing, uncured, unpalatable, unripe, unsalted, unseasoned, vinegary

This wraps up the series on using the senses in fiction. I hope these brief lists will serve as a quick reference when you’re in the middle of a scene, and in need of the right word, the unexpected word, to paint the perfect picture in your readers’ minds.

WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT: Last week, I posted to Facebook a quote from the vice president of the Association of American Publishers who said the book market is improving across all segments—up 8.8% over the past two years. The growth in the e-book segment is fueling much of the resurgence. This is good news for writers because it opens up new and different markets. I prefer the traditional publishing route, but the times they are a-changing. Despite the significant challenges we face, it’s still an exciting time to be in publishing.

MY FAVORITE QUOTE THIS WEEK:  “I want to do something splendid, something heroic or wonderful that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead….I think I shall write books.” Louisa May Alcott

Now, go do something splendid, heroic, and wonderful!