For twenty years, I've been pressing writing students, "Use the five senses!"
It's a simple formula that transforms your writing. Scenes, stories, poems–they all come alive when you invite us to breathe, smell, taste with you. Senses on every page are a brilliant way to vivify fiction and nonfiction alike.
But now I'm behind the times. Scientists have uncovered far more than five senses in the human repertoire. Your sense of balance, for instance. Write about a dizzying feeling! It can belong to you, or to one of your characters on the page. The fancy word is equilibrioception.
Another sense, which can make any story compelling, is that of hunger. How would you describe the gnawing, yawning, empty, or growling feeling of a belly asking for food?
A third sense is thermoception, which is the ability to detect heat. What is the sensation of trudging through a desert landscape, or simmering alongside a summertime pool? By the same token, we can feel cold within our bodies, from our chest to our toes, to the tips of our ears; or we can sense a chill that comes from the outside.
Another interesting sense is proprioception. This is feeling where you are in space, and includes the giddy feeling standing on a twentieth floor balcony, or the precariousness of walking a tightrope.
Wake up to your senses - they are legion, and they fill each human moment with possibility! For more, check out Wisegeek.
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