Sandbox Challenge #15: Create a Thesaurus of the Senses

How many words or phrases can you come up with to describe the color of the sky? How about faded denim? Or pumpkin, at sunset? Iron, before a storm?

For this challenge, see how many words or phrases you can produce for each of these:

  • the color of the sky
  • the taste of sugar
  • the smell of rain
  • the feel of air
  • the sound of laughter
  • the shape of eyes

This is a great exercise when you don’t have much time. And if you keep thinking up words to describe the sight, sound, taste, feel and smell of various items, you can compile your own thesaurus of the senses—a wonderful reference when you need interesting words for your fiction, essays, poems or other projects.

As always, I’d love it if you share some of your sensory words in the comments below!

Copyright © Sandy Ackers, Strangling My Muse: Struggling to Live a Creative Life in a Stressful World,


11 Responses to “Sandbox Challenge #15: Create a Thesaurus of the Senses”

  1. 1 Kristin June 22, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Love this prompt!

    I always find it inspiring to try and describe an “old” thing in a new way. It helps us see things freshly and from a different perspective.

    I discovered that trying to describe the smell of rain is impossible to do without comparing it to something else. Almost all of my sensory descriptions call up memories – I end up describing situations that remind me of the smell of rain.

    Very interesting! It’s like a temporary experience of Synethsesia.

    • 2 stranglingmymuse June 23, 2010 at 12:13 pm

      Hi Kristin, thanks for your comment, and I’m glad you like the exercise. I think you’ve also just created another version, which would be to compile a Thesaurus of Memories by coming up with memories related to the things I’ve listed above or to other sensory items.

      Thanks — you’re always inspiring!


  2. 3 Michelle Hedgecock July 1, 2010 at 1:36 am

    Hello Sandy! I really like this one! I’ve featured it in my blog(Nature Time exercise) with a link back to you and also mentioned your new book title (oooh! Is this available now?)! Hope that’s okay? I just love the exercise and I encouraged my readers to do this challenge, particularly in keeping with my “Nature Time” theme, I also encouraged them to collect these descriptions for nature-related items/environment!

    All the best you creative bonita!!!!

    • 4 stranglingmymuse July 2, 2010 at 10:11 am

      Yes, that’s okay, Michelle, and thanks for the link. I’m glad you like the exercise! I don’t have a book out, unfortunately. By the way, I like your flattering nickname for me! 😉


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