Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

    **MATERIAL ON THIS SITE IS COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. For permission on reprints or reusing this material, please contact the individual authors. For sharing the actual post, please use the share buttons.

  • Blog Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 92,798 hits
  • RSS April’s Blog: A Writer’s Journey

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS Barn Door Book Loft

    • Penelope's Hope by Sarah Baughman
      Life has given Penelope Drayton very little hope. After years of preparations, 1806 is the year that she is determined to create her own hope. The successful execution of her plan would grant her independence, but failure would certainly be her ruination. Just when her plan begins to meet with difficulty, she finds a faithful ally in Miss Violet Wyndham.Viol […]
    • A Warm Welcome to Sarah Baughman!
      Is there a story behind your book Penelope’s Hope?As I was developing the storyline for Penelope, I was struggling personally with living in a new place and having a different schedule (working outside the home) while managing the household and our four children, all while living very far away from the place I grew up. Some days, hope seemed a long way off. […]
    • North Carolina Author Susan Rush
      Welcome back to the Book Loft, Susan. Is there a story behind your book Renew-7 Days to a More Positive Outlook? There certainly is. Many hospice patients have shaped my life, and I wanted to share their stories. Believe me, it’s not sad or depressing. Their stories are inspirational. They have taught me to live more freely and lightly while savoring the gif […]
  • RSS Clash of the Titles

    • FREE Kindle! To Celebrate Five Years of COTT!
      Happy Birthday, COTT! We're half a decade old!To celebrate FIVE YEARS of Clash of the Titles, we're GIVING AWAY some fun gifts. You can win books by Gail Pallotta and Lisa Lickel, or even a KINDLE FIRE!!Raffle opens right now!Closes Monday, November 30.There are several ways to enter the drawing outlined in the RaffleCopter below. Winners will be d […]
    • And Our Winner is...
      Congratulations toA Noble Masqueradeby Kristi Ann Hunter!Book Blurb:Lady Miranda Hawthorne may long to break free of her ladylike expectations as he approaches spinsterhood, but finding herself intrigued by her brother's new valet is more rebellion than she planned. When she accidentally begins exchanging letters with a long-lost duke, things become eve […]
    • September Releases Clash 2015!
      Welcome back to our arena! We have six authors stepping onto our sands, ready to wield their mighty pens. Please look at each of their covers and descriptions and choose which one looks most appealing to you. Which would go on the top of your to-be-read pile? Be sure to make your choice in the actual survey, as those in the comments section alone won't […]
  • RSS Little Bits Blog

    • So I Failed Nano
      Hi again,It's been a long time again since I posted. Haven't done a ton of writing but I did start a new novel or novelette or series of novelettes at the beginning of the month. November is National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to start a novel and write 50,000 words during the month. November isn't over yet but I know I'm not going […]
    • I'm Baack, I Think
      If you haven't noticed, which I actually hope you have, I haven't blogged for a while. Well, I needed a break. I'd published seven books in three years and I was sort of written out. I simply needed a break. So now I think the break is over. I'm thinking about writing again and have several projects in different stages of writing. They we […]
    • Chloe's Decision 
      As I stated last week, November is NANOWRIMO. I'm working on the next Stones Creek novel. It's the story of Chloe, Noah Preston's sister. She comes to Stones Creek with her two children. If you would like to read her pre-story simply subscribe to Sophie's Special Emails. No more than twice a month will you receive an email with special co […]
  • RSS Living Our Faith Out Loud

    • Anita Estes and her forty day devotional When God Speaks
      When God Speaks--Forty Days and Nights of His Promises by Anita EstesAnita shares:          The inspiration for  When God Speaks grew out of my desire to connect women to the powerful promises of God. Told through my own stories and life experiences, my hope is to show others how God's promises can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.          […]
    • Carol Brown and her newest book for children
      Thank you, Lisa, for hosting me! I always enjoy talking about Sassy Pants and delighting children with another story in the series!Buy Sassypants in paperback format from Amazon, $11.99, or order from your favorite bookstore.ISBN-13: 978-0996495356Can you tell us about your new book? Sassy Pants Learns About Strange Creatures Sassy Pants Learns...about stran […]
    • Book Review - All's Fair in Love and Arson by Sharon McGregor
      All’s Fair in Love and Arson Sharon McGregorPrism Book Groupc. Nov 2015novellainspirational holiday romance.99 ebookISBN 9781943104255Buy on Amazon the publisher: Bella is back at her childhood home. When her mother took a fall in the Nuisance Grounds (garbage dump) and broke her leg, Bella came back to help her and run her shop, I […]
  • RSS Nearly Brilliant

    • The Color of the Season by Julianne MacLean
      NOTE:  Due to a serious need to cut back on my workload, this will be my last official book review on this blog.It doesn’t seem possible that the evening can get any worse for police officer Josh Wallace after he is dumped by the girlfriend he planned to propose to, but it does.  Josh and his partner are shot while chasing a carjacking suspect. While on the […]
    • Book Review: Swept Away (Trouble in texas Book 1) by Mary Connealy
      Ruthy MacNeil is rescued by Luke Stone after she nearly drowns fording a flooded river with a wagon train. Her step family doesn’t survive and she is finally free of their mistreatment. Luke surived the horrific ordeal as a prisoner of war in notorious Anderson prison during the civil war, only to learn that his father has been killed and the family ranch st […]
    • Book Review of Everything She Ever Wanted by Ann Rule
      When Pat Taylor wed Tom Allanson he had no way of knowing it would destroy his life in just a matter of weeksIn fact, Pat destroyed a lot of people’s lives. The attractive Southern belle was spoiled by her mother and she expected to live a lavish lifestyle at any cost. Nobody crosses Pat who was fascinated with Scarlett O’Hara. Pat could pour on the charm, b […]

    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
  • Second Monday: Sophie Dawson

  • Tuesdays – Promotion in Motion

  • Wednesdays: Life of a Writer – April & Positivity – Lisa Lickel

  • Thursdays – Luther’s on board

  • Fridays – Revolutionary Faith, Devotions by Elaine

  • Saturdays – Janet Perez Eckles

  • Sunday – Reflections Book Reviews

  • Blog Authors

  • The Barn Door

  • The Barn Door Book Loft. Free Books! Book Giveaways.

  • John 3:16 Marketing Network widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)>

Using Our Senses in Writing: Touch

Posted by Lisa Lickel on August 1, 2012

Touching vs. Feeling


Similarly to the ability to see, we are given the ability to experience life tactually. But how can that translate to our writing?

I divide “touch” from “feel” thusly: like sight, touch is the top layer of our sense, the first impression, so to speak, of the perception. “Feel” goes deeper. It’s the sensation caused by the touch, and our reaction to it, whether instinctual or controlled. “Feel” here borders on emotional – not “how are you feeling,” but “what does that feel like?” The question asks for your response to the sense of the touch.

Somatosensory. That’s the big word that explains how our nervous system functions. Our skin is basically a sensor receptor, with certain touchpoints more sensitive than others. We have nerves around our internal organs as well, so humans are barraged by stimuli constantly. How can we stand it? How can we sort out the natural feelings from the danger signs?

Perhaps that is the layer that drives up the tension in your story. We are familiar with how certain objects feel to us. Everyone regularly experiences a choice of sensations, whether in our personal clothing preference and other lifestyle accoutrements. In fact, our lifestyle is the biggest subliminal indicator of our ability to handle discomfort, pain, where and how we seek pleasure.  A common reaction to feathers brush across our skin is a slight muscle tension and a spasm at the tingle/tickle. We know how sand feels, how ice, glass, metal, silk, paper, liquid, warmth, heat, the touch of another human’s skin feels. Many of these things are recognizable in some fashion or another. We put our reaction to them in two general categories, with multiple sub-categories: Safe, Dangerous. Safe can subgenerate into pleasant, comfortable, acceptable, known, desirous, and so forth. Dangerous subgenerates into painful, uncomfortable, frightening. The automatic reaction is to move toward the safe touch and to avoid the dangerous one. Natural, right?

The twists come when these sensory inputs and reactions get muddled for whatever reason you throw at your characters. Anesthesia stops the input; but paresthesia is uncontrollable stimulus either from within or without. What about characters who seek out dangerous stimuli on purpose? We call that desire unnatural. How will those unnatural desires affect the decision and actions/reactions of your characters? What reactions are instinctive; which are controllable? What about the diseases and conditions that either permanently or temporarily halt or overstimulate nervous reaction? Hansen’s disease is only one case to explore. Mystics who have learned phenomenal control over themselves are another.

Perception of what we touch, or what is touching us, often depends upon other of the main senses to categorize, understand, and react to what is happening. I can feel liquid, but I can’t put a name or react to the liquid without using other senses. If I can taste it, smell it, see it, or even hear it, that data input all works together to help me decipher the liquid. Is it warm, cold, viscous? Is it splashing on me or dripping on me or running on me? The temperature helps me determine danger or safety, but what is my reaction to an unknown? Am I drawn to it, or avoid it? The bubble and snap of cola, the smell and taste of sweetness, the recognizable caramel coloring, join the sense of liquid to allow me to deduce this will probably not hurt me. A warm dribble trickling down my shoulder may be the first sign of something unusual happening. The movement is slow, unpleasant. It’s not raining. I sniff: sweet but salty or vinegar and rust; I look over and see dark red. I’m not even aware of the cut yet as my nerves are shocked to numbness at the point of the wound site. I’m not an expert in the medical field. I do not expect blood in this place at this time, but it takes more than the sense of touch to perceive the presence of blood. What should my or my character’s natural reaction be?

Your characters can also adjust to the sensory input, much like developing a callous for stringed instrument players or dancers. We can learn to sift and sort through our expected reactions until we are comfortable, such as jumping into a swimming pool or lake with water that feels cold. Eventually we adjust. We reflexively turn off the danger signs. Here’s your chance to add tension and conflict to the character’s story arc, and best of all, a twist for your reader.

Add to the noticing exercise in the first lesson on vision. Take out your box of objects again. This time, keep your eyes closed and examine them individually with your hands. Afterward, jot notes on the experience. Would you have recognized any of them simply by touch? How did they feel? Describe the sensations in a notebook for later use.

Remember: the more emotion you can elicit from your readers, the deeper they will be drawn into your world.

The story continues:

A one layered version:

Selena joined Justin for a walk on the beautiful Circle Path before dinner. She held his hand.

A multi-layered, visual and tactile-oriented:

Selena put the oven on low for the roast so they wouldn’t have to rush on the Circle – the path around town. She locked the door behind her, stalling a bit as she looked at her husband. Justin stood in the driveway, still as the light post, while he waited for her. She sighed. His hands were firmly stuck in his pockets.

“Clockwise or counter?” she asked. His smile reassured her as he reached for her hand. His rough palm caressed hers and his warm fingers held tight, like a lifeline. Selena moved close enough to feel his body heat.

“I’ll follow you,” he said.

Selena brushed her cheek against the cotton of his t-shirt before leading him down the driveway.

2 Responses to “Using Our Senses in Writing: Touch”

  1. Her lack of touch sensation can throw off her balance, and Julie uses her eyes to compensate. Her sight helps keep her oriented in space since she doesn’t feel the floor below her feet. She looks down as she walks, consciously watching each step (especially in heels).

  2. A lot may be said on the senses. I too have written a post simply called touch me.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,244 other followers

%d bloggers like this: