Wednesday, August 3, 2011

RTW: Five Senses? How about a sixth?

It's Wednesday so y'all know what that means...

This week's topic? The Five Senses. How you use them in your writing, how you are inspired by them, pictorial essays, that character with smelly socks, books that have used them well, the ones that are currently missing from your work, etc.

90 % of Americans are visual learners.

So it makes sense that writers use a lot of the visual in their writing and as inspiration. Auditory learners are the second biggest group, so again... makes sense that we use sounds a lot in our writing as well as music to help us write.

The thing I really like though? Is when I get to make up a sense. For THE DEMONS YOU KNOW, Miranda is a Mage and has a magical sense. She can "feel" magic in the world around her. For example:

  • When someone starts using Psychic magic on her: "Miranda felt cold magic creep inside her brain. It reached out icy tendrils of Psychic energy, searching."

  • And this when she reaches the site of a massacre: "A tangible trembling of magic hung in the air like the sound of a muted television."

  • And comparing magics: "They felt like demons, the way Gadriel's magic felt like light and her father's had felt like fire."

  • And sensing Gadriel's magic: "His magic flared subtly and Miranda wondered again at the strangeness of it. It held calm notes of light, music and triumph – so different from the heavy waves of vigor and elemental forces the Mages expelled."

I used mainly the sense of touch to help create the magical sense, but I also used sight, smell, taste and sound occasionally.

What about you? Do you remember reading a book where the author created a sixth sense? How was it done?



  1. Such a good point. My characters don't have a sixth sense, but I love how you used the other senses to describe how magic feels to Miranda.

  2. My character can sense and speak to spirits, but she gets all kinds of physical sensations from them too. Like the sound of bats, where you can hear a chittering right on the edge of your hearing, but your eardrums feel there's more going on.

  3. Great snippets! My current WIP focuses a lot on sight, or really lack of sight, so it's forced me to play up smells and touches a lot more.

  4. Thanks! I think I used touch the most because I was trying to impart that the magic is a real, actual force in her world and touch is the most concrete to me.

  5. That sounds pretty cool, great explanation of the bats! sensing ghosts is the quintessential "sixth sense" ;-)

  6. Cool! Is your character vision-impaired? I was just wondering today if anyone had every written and 1st person POV with a blind narrator.