Guest Bloggers

Chug, Chuff, Hiss, Squeal, Off We Go

Today’s post is inspired by Nancy Julien Kopp’s blog post about using sound in writing.

Nancy wrote:

This morning, I was catching up on email when I heard the whine of a train whistle, blown several times. I wondered if it was the historic Union Pacific train, known as Big Boy, making its way across Kansas this week in celebration of 150 years of the Transcontinental Railroad. It was due to stop here in our town at 9:30 a.m. 

The sound of that whistle made me stop and listen. I always liked to hear train whistles when I was a child. We lived across the street from the railroad tracks, so we were treated to that arresting sound on a frequent basis. I can remember being in bed on a summer night, windows open, hoping for the train to come by and announce its presence. When I did hear it, I wondered where it was going. My own world in those days was quite small, but I knew a train went to many places.

What do you think of when you hear a train’s whistle? Does it trigger any memories for you? Do you think of it as mournful or cheerful? Is it different at nighttime when the train moves through the darkness than it is on a sunny day? 

Readers knows what a train whistle sounds like, so you don’t need to write “The train blew its whistle.” You can enlarge that thought to make it more interesting: The train’s whistle whined loudly as it passed by the crossing gates, growing dimmer and dimmer as it sped down the track. 

Write a sentence or two for each of the items below, using sensory detail.

jet plane

waves on the shore

ball hitting a baseball bat

washing machine

school bell

air brakes on a bus

popcorn popping

crying child

church bells


cow mooing


Note from Marlene: Adding sensory details enhance the story and help readers “see” the scene and the characters.

The Magic of Sensory Words by Enchanting Marketing.

Write Spot Posts about sensory detail:

The neurological impact of sensory detail.

Imagery and sensory detail ala Adair Lara Prompt #277

Sensory Detail – Sound

Sensory Detail

Using sensory detail in writing.

See more posts about using the senses in writing by typing “sensory detail” in the Search Box on The Write Spot Blog.

Please follow and like us: