Home > PRISM Online > Tuesday Prompt: Exploring the Sensory Moment

Written by Mariah Devcic.

Maybe when you hear crows cawing, you’re transported back to the street you grew up on, walking home from school. Taking a shortcut down an alleyway filled with the smell of simmering onions, it could be your grandmother comes to mind, ladling soup into a bowl for you in a house that she sold a long time ago.

Sensory detail is an important part of all writing. It can also function as a great starting point for non-fiction that focuses on memory. It’s an excellent way to access metaphors, or pronounce a feeling that might otherwise have no other description. Utilizing sensory detail at the beginning of a piece brings the reader in right away, placing them immediately in scene. 

The details that triggers memories can prove to be a great segue into a new way of looking at something. Follow those memories and see where they take you. Write down the things that trigger recollections while you’re on the bus or waiting for an appointment or exploring an unfamiliar place. What is it about these small things that catches your attention? 

Maybe you’ll get a last minute spark of inspiration, just in time to submit to our annual Non-Fiction Contest. There is $2,500 in prize money up for grabs and the deadline is fast approaching this Friday, July 15th. You can click the button below to submit online now!