Writing Tips: Senses

When we think of senses, we usually just think of the basic five:


There are more, though (and ESP is not the sixth). Others include:


Pain and pleasure are not mutually exclusive.

Equilibrium is the sense of balance. Is the character standing on a moving train/ground that is rippling from earthquake tremors? Or are they balanced on stable ground?

Mental State
Is the character stable or unstable mentally? Do they act logically? Do they feel empathy? Do their emotions whip from one extreme to another without equally extreme triggers?

Mental Location in Time
Is the character focused on the present or so caught up in thoughts of the future or memories/flashbacks of the past that they lose touch with the world around them? Especially important to consider with characters struggling with PTSD.

Bodily Sensations
Full bladder, racing heart, etc.

Emotional State
Is the character angry? Sad? Amused? All of the above? How strong are the emotions?

Is the character hot or cold? How about the things they are touching?

Including more senses in writing allows the reader to visualize and engage more completely with the story. However, it is possible to overdo when writing a book, or to choose elaborate words when simpler ones will serve just as well. Resist the urge, unless the character would normally describe things in an over-the-top way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *