The Five Senses - #5: Touch

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We've talked about SIGHT, SOUND, SMELL, and TASTE so far.

What's left?


Yes. Touch. You know what's coming....


Think about everything you're touching right now...GO!

Me, I can feel the fabric seat cover of the chair. I can feel the keyboard under my fingers. I can feel my clothes on me! (Now that I'm thinking about it. Earlier it just seemed like another part of my body.) I can feel my dry curly hair touching my face in an annoying way.

Looking back on what I've said, if I was a character in the story, which of those would be the most interesting to include in the story? Probably not the clothes, since we can assume every character in the story has clothes on. Now, we don't care too much about the seat cover, so not that either. That leaves us with:

1. The keyboard under my fingers. This is an automatic giveaway that the character is either using a computer or a piano. (Based on her actions you can figure out what she's doing. I mean, you wouldn't think I meant that I'm playing the piano would you, while I'm clearly typing this?) This is a way to avoid using sight. You can even involve the sense of sound in here, like: "I can hear the gentle tapping of the keys as my fingers fly over the keyboard." Something like that.

2. Dry curly hair touching my face in an annoying way. Well, this is good for getting to know the character. She has dry curly hair. Instead of describing that in the old cliche way of looking into a mirror or window, have her explain it through touch. She's annoyed by it, because it's touching her face and she has to constantly tuck it back. Great! We get to know her personality. Or maybe your character's vain, so she primps it and plays with it all the time. Another use of touch. Perhaps she's self-conscious about herself, and that's why she's always messing with it. Through the use of touch, you can actually tell us something about your character's personality. Isn't that awesome?

Also, (You should know this by now) have a character react to the touch.

If her crush touches her arm, she's not just going to be a brick. She's going to react. It'll probably cause fireworks to shoot off in her head and tingles run up her spine as she shivers. She'll probably miss his warmth when he pulls away. This'll renew her feelings for him. Don't just assume that because we know she likes him, we know how she feels.

Pretend like we have no clue.

Explain to us the feelings that run through her when he touches her arm.

Also, the natural elements are good to include sometimes. If it's windy outside at night, it's probably cold. But avoid just saying that; again, have it affect her.

For example: "As I stepped out into the night, a shiver ran through me and I pulled my jacket closer to my body."

That's better than saying: "It was cold." From the statement above, we can gather that it's cold out without you actually telling us.

Well, that's all I can think to say. REMEMBER, how does it affect her? That's especially important on this one, because we don't want to know something if it doesn't affect her. We don't want to know that she can feel her clothes touching her body, unless they're itchy, scratchy, extremely soft, uncomfortable, too immodest, modest,  etc.

Any questions? Ask. :)

CHALLENGE: Read through at least one chapter in your book, and see how you've done with the sense of touch. If you already have some touch included (e.g. someone touching his/her arm) then make sure you included his/her reaction to it. (Does it make them uncomfortable? Or does it comfort them?) You can also try to include how she feels about nature/weather without directly stating what the weather that day was like. Also, be careful not to overstate the weather thing. If you've already signified that it's cold out, there's no need to reiterate.

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