Texture is a method of including the influence of the environment in descriptive writing, using the five senses to draw readers into the scene and help them feel a connection to the setting.
Every time your character is in a different location, you need to describe the scene, but lengthy descriptions can distract the reader, and slow the pace of the writing. Most writers learn early on that the ‘information dump’—long passages of explanations often given by a third person—is the worst method of imparting data to the reader, and that background information is best filtered in through dialogue and short paragraphs.
On the other hand, descriptions lacking in texture can cause a disconnect, and the reader may lose interest in your work.
The five senses are our primary source of knowledge about the world. Therefore, writing that incorporates strong verbs and vivid sensory detail is more likely to engage and affect the reader. You may not need to use all five senses in every scene, but do include as many as you can.
This sample provides an example of how sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste work together with the character’s environment to strengthen writing.
‘Damian gave a half wave as he left the house. He stopped under the porch light, swatted the bugs away and fished his cigarettes and lighter from his jeans pocket. The naked flame seared his hand for a moment before he lit up and sucked hard, savoring the sweet flavor. The familiar buzz filtered through him as he watched the smoke curl upwards towards the light.
The air hung hot and heavy—a typical summer night in north Florida. A car drove by slowly and he listened until its engine throb faded and only the shrill chirping of crickets, a few frogs, and the dull thuds from a distant thunderstorm broke the silence.’
Happy writing and wishing you lots of sales.