I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, I will share ways to increase your creativity. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Facing Cancer with Grace, where I will share posts that focus on caregiving. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is S is for Senses.
The 5 Senses
Writers usually try to sprinkle each of the 5 senses throughout the story to make it come alive. This gives the reader a more vivid reading experience. Writers often lean heavily on the senses of sight and hearing, while neglecting the senses of taste, touch, and smell. Some writers go overboard, overwhelming readers to the point of distraction.
While balance is the key, once in a while, it’s a good idea to try something different to stretch your writing abilities. One way to do this is to eliminate one of the major sensory abilities. There must be a reason to do this which is integral to the plot. Make sure it’s not contrived.
A year ago, I heard about Josh Malerman’s novel, Bird Box, on The Story Grid podcast. I immediately put it on my “must read” list. The thing that interested me was a change of perspective. Malerman did something most writers would never dream of doing. He eliminated the sense of sight, almost completely from the story.
The premise of the book was that something was making everyone insane (to the point of self-destruction) by just being seen. So the main character was essentially on a quest—blindfolded. This forced not only the main character, but Josh Malerman, as well, to rely more heavily on the other 4 senses.
I recall watching an episode from the series Alfred Hitchcock Presents, called, You Got to Have Luck. An escaped convict took refuge in the home of a deaf woman, not knowing she was deaf and was reading his lips. Eventually he was caught because of this mistake. This concept has been used several times since then, most recently in the 2016 horror movie, “Hush.” Even if you only do this as an exercise to stretch your writing muscles, I highly recommend playing with the 5 senses in your writing.
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What are YOUR thoughts?
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I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.
My books The Memory Maker’s Journal and Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, are available at Amazon.com.
I also blog about living with cancer at, Facing Cancer with Grace.