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

    • 93,394 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

    • Weekly Winners
      Once again, we offer you a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft. And before we announce our winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to these Christian authors who offered a sample of their writing to our faithful readers:Kelly Irvin who offered her Amish Romance The Bishop's Son. June Bliss who offered her Women’s Fiction Starfis […]
    • Winners of Books
      Once again, we offer you a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft. And before we announce our winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to these Christian authors who offered a sample of their writing to our faithful readers:J.M. Downey who offered her Political Suspense Privileged. Ann Allen who offered her Non-fiction Out of the Darknes […]
    • Are You This Week's Winner?
      Once again, we offer you a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft. And before we announce our winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to these Christian authors who offered a sample of their writing to our faithful readers:Rick Barry who offered his Suspense:  The Methuselah Project. Candee Fick who offered her Contemporary Romance:  Ca […]
  • RSS Clash of the Titles

    • All that Glitters, a Gold Rush historical romance!
      "A wonderfully unpredictable plotline!""All that Glitters was a beautifully written story that speaks of redemption and forgiveness.""The author draws you in and keeps you engaged to the last page."About the book:The world has gone plum crazy over gold. Men and women alike would do almost anything to make their fortune. Leaving […]
    • Finding Hope in Barely above Water
      "...a touching story of loss, hope, and healing." ~Nancy MehlAn illness comes of out nowhere and strikes Suzie Morris. Her boyfriend dumps her. She has no living family, and her physician can’t diagnose the malady. Suzie relies on her Christian faith as she faces the uncertainty of the disease, and turns to a renowned alternative doctor in Destin, […]
    • And the Laurel Winner Is....
      2016 LAUREL AWARD WINNERAuthor Delia Latham's novel ~At First Sight~is the winner of Clash of the Titles's sixth annual Laurel Award.CONGRATULATIONS, DELIA!Delia will receive the following: a beautiful banner to display on her website; a year-long page on COTT dedicated to the winning book, At First Sight; a feature tour on COTT's Blog Allianc […]
  • RSS Little Bits Blog

    • What's With the Jumpsuits?
      I've been shopping for new clothes. Having lost about 40 lbs I'm in desperate need of new clothes. This spring there seems to be a 'new' fashion statement. Jumpsuits and rompers. I can understand pre-toilet trained children wearing these things but adult women? Nope.There's an intrinsic problem with them. They are a pain to go to the […]
    • Something New
      So, Simple Thoughts on Philippians is now available in Kindle and Print formats. It's free for all Kindle Unlimited subscribers and only $2.99 for Kindle purchase and $6.99 for print. I get about the same royalty for either type of purchase so I'd recommend the Kindle version. It's cheaper. Please remember to post a review once you've rea […]
    • Good News and Bad News
      So, in my life there is good news and bad news. The good news is that Simple Thoughts on Philippians is available on Amazon in Kindle and print format. I will be formatting for large print very soon.The Kindle version is $2.99 or if you have Kindle Unlimited it is free to read. The print version is $6.99. As of today, 02/21, it's only available at the C […]
  • RSS Living Our Faith Out Loud

    • Unlocking the truth of Daniel with Laura Davis
      From the Publisher:Do you long to immerse yourself in God's Word and discover its truths for yourself? The new and exciting Digging Deeper Series was created just for you! Embark on a fulfilling journey through God's Word using a foundation of Scripture as well as history. Are you ready to begin? Who are the Kings of the North and South and what ro […]
    • James Andrew debut novel WEST
      West book reviewJames Andrew11.99 paperback9.99 ebookbuy on AmazonPaperback: 164 pagesPublisher: Rising Star Studios, LLC.; First edition (May 1, 2016)ISBN-13: 978-1936770724About the book:All is not well with Christopher Wilks. Nor is all as it seems. For one thing, he is ill-equipped for the mind-bending journey he is about to undertake. Hitching a ride in […]
    • Clash of the Titles 2016 Laurel Winner Delia Latham
      2016 LAUREL AWARD WINNERAuthor Delia Latham's novel ~At First Sight~is the winner of Clash of the Titles's sixth annual Laurel Award.CONGRATULATIONS, DELIA!Delia will receive the following: a beautiful banner to display on her website; a year-long page on COTT dedicated to the winning book, At First Sight; a feature tour on COTT's Blog Allianc […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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.

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 1,242 other followers

%d bloggers like this: