While researching the five senses, 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). Those lists are also here. A good writers’ workshop weaves all three sets of lists to help craft compelling scenes.
If you have an addition or comment, or would like to have me conduct an Eleven Senses – Who Knew? workshop, please contact me at marilynkelly.net.
Be the first to hear about new blog posts on best romance novels I've read plus tips on creative writing. You can also email me at Marilyn @ marilynkelly.net