What does love taste like? What does it smell like?
Love doesn’t have a taste or smell, you might say. But if you look a bit closer, you’ll realize it does. It smells like your boyfriend’s cologne. It tastes like the peanut butter cookies your wife makes you, even though she hates peanut butter.
Love is one of those things that is difficult to explain in your writing without using cliches. You hear the same lines over and over when reading a romantic scene in books. His eyes sparkled like the stars. Her lips were as red as roses. Her whole body burned like fire at his touch. Her lips on his made the world stop.
These saying stop having an affect on readers because they, or some variant, are used so often. But how do you break out of the cliche and get your readers to feel what your character is feeling?
The trick is to get your brain out of “roses are red” mode and get it using different words than flowers or twinkling stars to describe romance.
Using the five senses to describe love and romance forces you to come up with something different.
To really make this work, avoid using anything sensual. Like saying that love tastes like your partner’s lips or feels like his hand running over your skin. There is a place for this when writing about romance, but for this exercise you’ll want to describe things that normally aren’t used to describe romantic feelings.
Here’s what I came up with.
The Five Senses of Love
Love sounds like waves rushing against the shore, forever changing the sand it shifts beneath its shushing, easing, breathing.
Love is the wonderful shock of cool water embracing your body after a plunge, its sudden energy surrounding you, awakening every pore, causing a shudder.
Love fills the mouth with vanilla orange. Sweet and warm yet bright, vibrant, and tangy.
Love smells like Christmas. Like sugar cookies rising in the oven, green pine, sticky wood, and liquid cinnamon candles mingling to create a swirling haven.
Love is the shape of a crescent moon. Both sharp and curved. Firm and gentle. It’s white glow soft enough to ignore if you choose, but bright enough to make even broken glass glisten and shimmer like a treasure all its own.