Writing Assignment: Describe The Taste Of Water

by Randy Murray on December 10, 2010

Mastering description is one of the most difficult writing skills and it must be continually reinforced and relearned. The skilled writer can weave descriptions of objects, place, even people into a story in such a way that the reader is never removed from the narrative stream. Others may offer descriptions of such beauty that it causes the reader to pause and relish the turn of phrase.

But many find it difficult to add just enough, just the right level of details to give the reader not only what they need to know, but a deeper sense of time, place, rhythm, and tone. The only way to master this skill is to practice, and practice daily.

A practice exercise for this skill should stretch the writer’s imagination and abilities. In today’s assignment, write a brief piece describing the taste of water. In its purest form, distilled, water has no taste at all, but that absence of taste can be described. Water often contains minerals and hints of tastes, making it an indicator of a specific place, a specific experience.

This is one assignment that you should repeat often, just the way a pianist practices the scales.

Here’s my example:

Before we got “city water” I never thought much about the taste of water from our well. But once the line was laid in past our house and connected to the kitchen faucet, the difference was more than clear.

I’d had water from other places before, but here, at the sink, I could tell. Our well water, supposedly pure, tasted distinctively flat. Some combination of minerals and sediments, the same ones that caused the washing machine to corrode quickly and lime to build up on the shower head, made that water seem as if it had been pooled in that hole in the ground for ages.

Compared to the chlorine-freshness of the water from the city line, our water was now only good for the outside spigot, for washing the vehicles and watering the plants. A sip from the hose would remind me again. This water had been in the ground, not in some plant or factory.

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The Writing Assignment: Describe The Taste Of Water by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mari December 13, 2010 at 10:14 am

(A back up for your back up:)

Taste can get totally mucked up by visuals. And certainly smells. My sense is kids would go for more vegetables if they were just colored neon candy green and smelled like sugar. But give kids practically any kind of water, excluding the rotten-egg-smelly-kind pumped out at a campground (unless they’re r e a l l y thirsty) and you’ll likely not hear any complaints. Water just isn’t something most youngsters rank high on their you-can’t-make-me-drink-that list.

The discerning adult palette, however, is catered to by the vast bottled water industry. Some drinkers swear by their brand. Oh, the difference d o e s extend far beyond the label graphics. Blind taste tests can prove that. Strong preferences have been known to incite intense negotiations when friends dine out – or – multiple bottles delivered to the table.

Dry, flat, clean, crisp, bitter, salty, too many bubbles, too few bubbles: experiment and you can find your water penchant. Oodles of people refuse to drink their municipality-supplied tap water, compromising their spines by schlepping bottles or paying out for home delivery. The taste of water is quite personal.


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