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Writing the “Touch” Sense: 5 Senses

Different body parts experience the sensation of touch in unique ways. Fingertips have heightened levels of sensitivity, but the tip of an elbow is desensitized. Depending on how you touch on object with certain body parts the feeling or experience will be different and should be described relative to the sensation.

A few weeks ago I went camping in Northern Michigan. As I hung my hammock in the trees, the continual prick of pine needles tickled against my bare arms and legs. Sometimes, I’d turn the wrong way and the pointed ends of the pine branches jabbed into my skin like sharp knives. In mere seconds my goosebumps transformed into searing pain.

The ground was covered with a thick layer of dead pine needles providing a soft pillow-like cushion for going barefoot. Each step felt as though I walked on puffy clouds.

In only a few minutes I was able to experience three distinct ways to experience the sense of touch as it relates to pine needles. Depending on the nature of my trip, I could use any of these three descriptions to set a specific tone for a story. If I was writing a happy joy filled scene, I could describe the fluffy cloud-like layer of pine needles. Or, if I was writing about a bad trip, I could describe the scene using the piercing pain of pine branches. Both ways set different tones and atmosphere for a story.

You can use your sense of touch to set powerful tones for your writing scenes.

Take at least 60 seconds and stare at this image. Put yourself in this setting. What do you feel? What can you touch?

How many different ways can you describe the feel of the same object? Such as the water? The sand? The forest?

Challenge yourself to go deeper in your writing and describe your scene using the powerful sense of touch.

Leave your unique description of what you can “feel” in the comments below. Make sure to take the time to always “touch” your setting, or storyworld and take care to describe it in an exceptionally engaging way.

1 Comment

  1. JPC Allen says:

    Since I love the outdoors, I’ll use the sense of touch to relate a peaceful scene. “Dipping my feet into the lake, the cool water eased the soreness that a day of hiking had produced. The tiny grains of sand under my feet massaged them. The breeze coming over the mountains dried the sweat on my arms and back. I walked to my tent, pulled on my flannel shirt, and returned to the lake to continue my spa session.”

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