Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A Romantic Hero Always Ignores Sensor #15

Writers know capturing human senses are essential for everything from a character's deep point of view to description that immerses the reader in the story world, suspending disbelief. Often the standard list of five senses isn't enough. Our bodies have at least a dozen ways we can clue into our surroundings thanks to sensors.

Sensors are cells that receive and respond to a signal or stimuli. Each sensor is tuned to one specific sensation, so to track all the different senses in the human body, understanding where these sensors are located is essential. Science has detected the following:

  • Eyes (2 sensors): light intensity, color detection

  • Ears (2 sensors): sound, orientation in the gravitational field

  • Skin (5 sensors): heat, cold, pain, itch, pressure

  • Nose: smell

  • Tongue: taste

  • Kinesthetic/Muscles and Joints: body position, motion and tension of the muscles

  • Bladder

  • Large Intestines

  • Hunger

  • Thirst

  • Nausea

Beyond scientific proof, some suggest the human body is capable of detecting weather changes, the notion that someone is watching you, and the "eyes in the back of the head" talent our mothers seem to have all mastered.

How is this important to writers? As humans, our experiences come to us primarily through our senses. Writing sensory description, then, becomes a key to unlocking reader's emotions, a gateway to that vivid place where writer connects with reader. Across time and often great distance, the imagery becomes the common ground where magic happens.

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Sandra Ferguson said...

Um, I'm not sure I wanted to know I have bladder sense. GRIN!

What about DEJA VU? Do you think that is a sense as well?

Eric said...

Of course we have a "bladder" sense! If we didn't, then who knows how many a bed would be ruined. Of course, this is from a "man's" perspective. Thank god we do have it.

As for Deja Vu or even ESP, I firmly believe we can at times SENSE things that we've dreamed of or had cross our minds, BEFORE they even happened yet. I don't think it's just happenstance, but what do I know, as I'm only a common man.