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

    • 90,087 hits
  • RSS April’s Blog: A Writer’s Journey

    • Evil Parents and Rotten Kids
      A-ZE is for Evil Parents and Rotten KidsI present you Jimmy Kimmel's annual "I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy" video montage. It's an artful mixture of cruelty, humor, and ghastly awe. My favorite is Drawer Boy. Now there's an ax murderer in the making.Which is your favorite?
      noreply@blogger.com (April Gardner)
  • RSS Barn Door Book Loft

    • Are You One Of Four Book Winners This Week?
      Once again, we offer you a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft. We would like to offer a special thanks to these Christian authors who offered a sample of their writing to our faithful readers:Caryl Macadoo, who offered her Christian Romance Novel The Preacher’s Faith. Nicola Furlong, who offered her Mystery  A Hemorrahaging of Souls. Je […]
    • New York Author Carol McClain
      Welcome to the Book Loft, Carol! Is there a story behind your book DWF: Divorced White Female?There are several stories connected with my novel. I met my husband of nearly eleven years online. He was a Methodist minister. I was an evangelical Christian. When we married, I discovered only two things could we not talk about: politics and religion. The twelve y […]
    • DWF: Divorced White Female by Carol McClain
      If you think you’ve experienced a mid-life crisis, Cheryl Chandler will prove you wrong. Ditched by a philandering husband, rearing three weird teens (and a toddler—her failed attempt  to save her marriage), she knows only one thing will redeem her life: a man—any man so long as he’s hot.But how does a forty-something divorcé do that?The kids have the answer […]
  • RSS Clash of the Titles

    • Olympia Finalists!
      by Michelle MassaroHello, hello! Today is a big day!I am very excited to announce this year’s Olympia Finalists!! Please congratulate:*Kelly Goshorn*Madelyn Herbert*Mary Vaitkevicius-VeeAll three authors’ entries will go to our Round 3 judges: Karen Ball, Becky Philpott, and Becky Wade (links below)Acquisitions Editor Becky Philpott of Harper Collins Publish […]
    • The Winner of the February 2015 Clash of the Titles
      A big thank you to all four authors for sharing news of their wonderful new releases! One voter sums it up"All of these books sound so good. I would really like to take a vacation where I could just read, read, eat, read, eat, and did I mention read some more? Well, all of your books sound amazing like you! May God bless each of you as you endeavor to d […]
    • January New Releases Clash
      Hostess: Gail PallottaJanuary 2015, brought us many great fiction books. Contemporary, historical, young adult futuristic and a suspense novel round out this month’s Clash. Which of these will you put at the top of your to-be-read list?***During the 1960s, Henry Youngblood feels the call to plant a new church. Meanwhile, his wife wonders how to pay the bills […]
  • RSS Little Bits Blog

    • 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 […]
    • Remembering Fudgsicles
      It is November and thus NANOWRIMO, National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to begin a novel and write 50,000 words during the month. Since this occupies most of my focus for these four weeks I will be reposting previous articles each week this month. Fudgsicles, how long has it been since I’ve had a fudgsicle? I’m not sure, but they came to mind when […]
    • Are You Teachable?
      What? You think you know everything? I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but no one knows everything. Oh, there is one, Hashem. He's omniscient. But no one else is. Even Yeshua (Jesus) isn't. He doesn't know the hour or day he will come again. Some people rejoice in learning something new. I tend to be one of those people. I read about […]
  • RSS Living Our Faith Out Loud

    • Grammar Day QUIZ 4 U
      It's grammar day, March 4. But you knew that already, didn't you?Enjoy the following quiz from Grammarly.comJoy,http://LisaLickel.com
    • Celebrating Grammar!
      Awesome Quiz Tomorrow...today: one of my pettish-most peeves:This graphic courtesy of Grammarly. Visit and Use GrammarlyJoy,http://LisaLickel.com
    • New Book in the Sweet Briar series by Carol Heilman
      Summer's steamy haze coats North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains, but feisty Agnes Marie Hopper discovers the heat isn't the only thing causing her blood to boil. After a kitchen fire destroys her home, Agnes moves in with her daughter, Betty Jo. Three months later they come to an understanding: neither can tolerate living with the other. So o […]
  • RSS Nearly Brilliant

    • Book Review: Georgiana Darcy's Diary: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Continued by Anna Elliot and Laura Masselos
      I'm a big Austen fan and I love Pride and Prejudice so my fear was this would be a feeble attempt at sequel. I was pleasantly surprised. Georgiana Darcey, Mr. Darcey's younger sister, is now 18 years old and in love with her co-guardian Colonel Fitzwilliams. Elliot and Masselos do a great job fleshing out some of the peripheral characters from the […]
    • Book Review: Standing Stones by Beth Camp
      This first book in a promising series, takes place in 19th century Scotland in the Orkney islands at the time of the Clearances. It was a time when wealthy landowners were changing their mode of land management and ruthlessly throwing tenants off the land.When Lord McDonald takes over the estate of Westland and its holdings, he's determined to make impr […]
    • Book Review: Caught in the Middle by Regina Jennings
      Anne Tillerton is similar to Annie Oakley. She's a dead shot  with a gun and for the past few years has made her living as a buffalo hunter. But when Nick Lovelace comes to the aid of a passenger on a train during a hold up, Anne ends up saving Nick's life.Anne's sordid history includes killing her husband. We learn later it was a kill or be k […]
  • BLOG NEWS

    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 http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com 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 http://www.janetperezeckles.com, 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.

About these ads

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. http://rogertharpe.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/touch-me/

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,247 other followers

%d bloggers like this: