Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Writing with Senses in Play

Of all the senses I do enjoy “touch” I think this is so important to the romantic novel. Describing how the touch of someone’s skin feels can be truly romantic. That first tremulous touch too, has lots of potential for the romantic author.

Smell also can be very evocative. In my next novel A Sprig of Broom” it is the smell of her gaolers that make Cecily feel ill. Whereas the scent of her husband, who sometimes smells of horse, she find delightful.
I am fond of sandalwood, so often my hero will use a sandalwood scented shaving cream, if I am getting excited about it then I know it’s right.

Of course love is in the eye of the beholder, so sight is important too. The first look can be enticing but an attraction to the physical can be fraught with danger too. Infatuation can be awakened, hot and potent, but like a candle flame can easily blow out.

Sound – ah yes, I must hear my hero’s voice; it has to deep and warm. I hate to be personal but I think the one thing that stops a certain very handsome footballer, from being a real dreamboat is his “little girl voice” so off putting to me!

The sound of silence can be sensual too, whether real or imagined.

Extract from Eden’s Child published by Whiskey Creek Press

"They reached the creek and the bridge and rested for a moment. The lights of Mandorah in the distance seemed an intrusion. Then there was a sudden stillness as if the earth held its breath. The frogs and crickets were momentarily silenced. Words came to her

In such a night as this, When the sweet wind did gently kiss, And did they make no noise in such a night the trees (William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night)

The words made her mad and reckless, pulsing the blood through her veins like a river in flood. There was a demanding fluttering at her stomach, an ache throbbing at her very core. She reached out and her fingers tumbled down the soft suede of Nevis’ jacket till they found his hand. They looped through his rigid fingers until the full heat of her hand melted his own into movement. They stood, their hands fastened together linked in innocent intimacy.

He began to let his hand make love to hers, rubbing and pushing, probing her wrist, teasing her palm. She was practically breathless from the sensuality of such a touch, had to close her eyes and all the while her mind spilled out hot images of how that hand would feel if it probed and stroked her flesh.

He’ll have to kiss me…he can’t touch me like this and not want to."

Taste too can have a place – the taste of his or her skin but the taste of food
enjoyed can be interesting too. For instance my heroine in The Substitute Bride tastes an orange for the first time and finds it a wonderful experience.

The power of the senses are there for us to use, food for thought eh?


  1. Love is timeless, yet each couple discovers it as if for the first time. One reason I love historicals like yours, Margaret, is that the evocations of love are so stimulating. Maybe I feel more free in the land of imagination.

  2. Food for thought, indeed. What a wonderful writer you are Margaret. Your books are captivating!

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  4. Thank you, Pauline and Ana, what lovely comments to make and they are appreciated very much.

  5. Hi,

    Lovely excerpt, Margaret, and very evocative prose! :)


  6. Margaret, I love this post because by using the senses you can really "amp" up the romance. I'm writing a historical right now, where sound and song is very important, but I love playing on the sense of smell - especially with flowers.

    I loved the excerpt - very engaging and visual in the reader's eye. Well done!


  7. Excellent post, Margaret! You've left me wondering what on earth I can write about tomorrow - because you've said it all!

  8. Thank you everyone for your comments. StephB we could be twins, (LOL) my daughter in law supports The England Patriots and I was born in Manchester (but England).