Blog Entries
Monday September 18, 2017
Category: Site News

Sorry for the delay, I have been out and about and enjoying life in an unusually sunny Amsterdam with my cousin and her husband who came to visit. My head was literally in the clouds at the top of the Amsterdam Lookout Tower!

  • Alyson has written a blog that will make you salivate as it's all about using the sense of taste in your novel. So next time you have a choccie make sure you savour it mindfully and think about how you would describe it and how that taste sensation could add depth to your character.

  • The Bragging Stool is sizzling with our successes. Jill has won the Yeovil Festival Short Story Prize. Go Jill! Alyson has had not one, but two stories published in a single issue of People's Friend, and the go-getting Sue has won first prize on Ad Hoc fiction! Crilly, Chris and I were also published on Ad Hoc Fiction this week.


  • Jo has posted juicy prompts and quirky photos on the Monday Muse forum to get our pens flying over the paper. Why would anyone every put a swan on the back seat of their car? There is a story in there somewhere...


  • Maggie has posted her writing vision for the coming five years and has shared her hopes and challenges for her future writing career and how being a member of Writers Abroad can support her in achieving those goals.

  • Sadly, Bieke has decided to leave the group because of the difficult, personal circumstances she faces at the moment. It has been a pleasure to have such a talented lady in the group and we are all very sorry to see her go.


  • Next Formal chat is Sunday 24th September at 11.00 am CET on Skype. Nigel is in the chair.


Well that’s it! Hope you all have a very creative week! If I have forgotten something please shout.

Taste That Tags: writing senses

Taste That

Carrying on from my recent blog on using the sense of smell in writing, taste is another under utilized sense in literature. Our characters don’t go about licking the scenery so taste has to be introduced more subtlety. Having said that, taste is closely connected to the sense of smell and the two can be interchangeable. For example, the faint taste of salt in the air or the faint smell of salt on the breeze are similar and suggest the same idea.

The most obvious time to evoke the sense of taste is when the characters are cooking, eating or drinking or perhaps kissing. But using a remembered flavour can take a character back to a better time — ice-cream types from childhood, the taste of ripe strawberries on a warm summer day, or spicy gluhwein at Christmas. Contrast a nice or familiar flavour with an awful meal or milk that has gone off to spark an immediate picture in a reader’s mind.

A physical taste or an imagined taste in a character’s mouth can give an indication of the situation they find themselves in. If your hero tastes copper or iron they are probably afraid, if they taste nausea they maybe revolted by something or even physically sickened by something.

Tastes might bring to mind a character — mint humbugs that Grandfather used to share, Victoria sponge that Grandmother used to make, or a special curry that a certain someone preferred.

The distinctive flavour of various foods can affect our emotions. Chocolate, that rich creamy punch can give you a much-needed boost of energy. Ditto coffee. Some people eat ice-cream for a similar boost or reach for a gin and tonic. Describe the moment of satisfaction on the character’s face or their internal emotion, as they taste nirvana.

Another way to use taste is through metaphor – “It’s going to taste like sunshine” (I’ve just heard Jamie Oliver use this on his cooking show). Metaphors (and similes) will remind readers of memories and emotions in their life. I found a couple of examples in the book I’ve just finished (re)reading – Black Swan Green by David Mitchell. The first example shows the hero of the story, Jason Taylor, age 13, enjoying a snack, which contrasts with the worrying situation he recently found himself in.

“No Double Decker ever tasted so good. No nougat ever so snowy. No curranty clag ever so crumble and sweet.”

The second example shows the reader something of Jason’s sister’s attitude to things that were appealing to Jason.

“Sausage rolls start off tasting lovely but by the time you finish them they taste of peppery pig bollock. According to Julia that’s exactly what sausage rolls’re made of.”

Finally the sense of taste has made its way into daily jargon. Phrases like ‘a taste of one’s own medicine’, ‘acquired taste’, ‘leave a sour taste’, and ‘no accounting for taste’ are in regular use. As writer’s we should usually avoid them as clichéd but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them as a prompt or theme for a story or poem.

Try it – you might find the sweet taste of success…


This Week on Writers Abroad
Category: Site News
Tags: member news writers abroad news site news

Nigel’s blog this week should strike terror into the hearts of every writer!  A year’s worth of work lost by one lightning strike!  Flash drives failing and cyber attacks!  But, he’s right.  There is so much to lose that all precautionary efforts need to be made. 

Dianne’s muse for this week is not yet posted – with the time differences I often don’t catch everything when writing the This Week posting.  Be sure and check it out, I’ve no doubt there will something to grab your attention.

On the Bragging Stool this week Laura and Angela received an Honourable Mention and Highly Commended in the 100-word comp run by Morgen Bailey. Good work you two!  Sue has posted a copy of the judge’s comments about her first place poem that was published in October’s Writing Magazine.  What an achievement! We’re all so proud of her!  The news can be spread now that Angela made the final ten of The Fictional Casket flash fiction competition!  Although we all knew last week, winners were not announced until the 8th.  Many congratulations, Angela!

A couple of pieces for the WA Magazine are up for review this week.  Under Works in Progress Crilly has posted her Guilty Conscience piece and Lesley posted hers under the WA-E Magazine Forum.  The deadline is approaching. 

Hoping this is a productive writing week for all.  If I’ve missed anything please post in the comments. 






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