While researching the five senses for my writing, I went to Wikipedia, and it was there I first discovered the eleven scientifically recognized senses. The five commonly known senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste) were defined by Aristotle. The other six seem just as important, especially for a fiction writer. Pain, temperature, time, motion/acceleration, direction, and balance are all essential to fully expressing the human condition. In nearly every scene, authors need to check in with our characters to determine their comfort and actions. If they are teetering on the edge of a cliff, we need the words to describe their sensations.
There are also internal receptors that regulate breathing, heart rate, vasodilation (flushing and blushing), intestinal distress, and swallowing. While these are also important for accurate character descriptions, they are not usually considered senses. Likewise, sense of ethics, humor, style, etc., which get only passing mention here, but should be reflected in your characters’ actions.
The senses are of little impact if we don’t translate them into Emotions (the lifeblood of great fiction) and Body Language (how we communicate emotions and sensory input). A good writers’ workshop weaves Senses, Emotions, and Body Language to help craft compelling scenes.
Using a wide variety of sensory props, supplemented by extensive word lists, the attendees will discover through brainstorming, and assimilate through experience, novel techniques for layering the five traditional senses and the six other scientifically recognized senses into their writing.
We will also consider the internal receptor senses: respiration rate, vasodilation, swallowing, intestinal distress, gagging, fullness, cramping, headaches, and learn how to apply them to elicit an instinctive reaction in the reader.
To layer in the sensibility essential to crafting compelling fiction, attendees will ascribe emotions and body language to each sensory input, and play ‘what if’ with their answers.
Sensory props will include samples of textures, tastes, sounds, odors, and visuals. Think movie property department meets vacationing romance writer -- definitely fun for everyone.
In the longer version of this highly interactive workshop, we will pay tribute to extrasensory perception (second sight), and learn how to weave 'light' paranormal elements into writing to expand readership.
Contact me for more information at marilyn @ marilynkelly.net.
New! Workshop in a Bag - Just add Chocolate
If you are responsible for securing workshops for a writers' group, you should have a 'workshop in the bag'. I have included a workshop outline, originals of the handouts, a copy of my Eleven Senses - Who Knew? book, and enough sensory props for twenty attendees (just add chocolate to make the workshop more fun for all.)
Any good public speaker can take
the materials and deliver an engaging workshop.
I gave my related workshop recently, called What Every Scene Needs, and it is full of good information. I can do a full day presentation with these two workshops, so let me know if you want me to speak for your group.
Contact me at marilyn @ marilynkelly.net for details.