As I have said before, sometimes I get so focused on a task that I forget everything around me; I block everything else, and many times I forget that I was just making pancakes for breakfast or that I had just put a load of laundry and heard the bell a minute ago. All I can say is thank God for all my senses. The smell of starting to toast pancakes or the too quiet house will alert me and bring me back. The gentle nag of a cat that wants a temptation treat has brought me back from the extreme focus vortex just in time. This brings me to the topic of appealing to reader’s senses in your writing.
Just as it is important to me to get rescued by my senses, I thought of how important sensory stimulation is on a novel or a piece of writing. Awakening readers senses gives a new depth to your story, and may rescue some readers from boredom – boredom of too much dialog or description. Even if you are deprived of one sense, another takes over, keener and improved. I try to keep this is mind when writing my story, as I tend to run into too much dialog. To me, the senses are a miracle; it is how we experience the world, and how readers can experience your story.
Sometimes, I tend to ask myself the weirdest questions, and I have asked myself if I was to be deprived of a sense or ability, which one will I give up. I know, it may sound sinister to many, but I think about unusual things sometimes. I would give up speech. I don’t talk much; I am the silent type, the observer, and I rather write than talk. As long as I can communicate when I need to in some way, I think I would be happy. I am a very visual person, and that would be the sense that I would miss the most, probably to the point of insanity, which brings me to this point – readers are very different in their consumption of reading material and learning, so the senses that prevail throughout your story may appeal to some readers more than to others. My point, striving for a good balance might not be a bad idea.
Do you think about stimulating the senses when writing your story? Which sense would you give up? Which one would you miss the most? If you are missing a sense, how have you improved the other senses?