Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Not So Common Senses

Winnie Griggs

Hello!  Winnie Griggs here and I’m really excited to be back here at Seekerville. This is always such a fun place to visit!

Today I thought I’d discuss adding depth to your stories by using the senses. I’m sure you’ve all heard, time and again, that one of the best ways to infuse your scenes with life and energy is through deft use of the five senses. In fact, if you type senses into the blog search box at the top of this page, it will display for you a number of very well written pieces on just that subject among the Seekerville archives.

So I’m going to give just a quick nod to those basic five senses and then move on to something else.

Quick, before I list them here, how many of you can name all five of the basic senses from memory? They are, of course, Sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste (I always forget touch).

The key to using them effectively in your work is to make certain you don’t just add them in as a laundry list or afterthought. To be really effective you need to show how they color the emotions of your character, mood or setting. You need to see how they touch your character in order for them to touch your reader.  Honing in on one or two really key elements in this way is much more effective than providing multiple sensory elements that just lay there.

For instance: As she walked through the park she could smell fresh cut grass, a cigar reminiscent of the ones her grandfather had smoked, and the loamy scent of newly-turned earth. You’ve included the sense of smell here, which can be one of the most evocative of the senses, but you haven’t really given the reader anything to care about or latch on to.

Instead, focus in on the detail(s) that’s going to elicit an emotional response and weave it in with the emphasis it deserves – Wafting over the everyday scents of the park that morning, the unexpected whiff of a cigar caressed her with memories of her beloved grandfather, ensconced in his recliner, puffing away, as she and her brother played at his feet. Oh, how she could use his wise counsel today.

That was just off the cuff, but hopefully you get the idea.

Let me give you a more extended example from one of my books, using one of the times when I included the five senses and think I actually got it right.

This excerpt comes from my book Handpicked Husband. The set-up here is that the hero and heroine have entered into a marriage of convenience. The day before the wedding, the hero learns something the heroine did that he feels is unforgivable but it is too late to call off the wedding. This is the evening after their wedding ceremony.

“I won’t lie,” Adam began.  “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget what you did.” 
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Reggie thought she’d braced herself for censure, but his words still had the power to lash at her.
He leaned back.  “However, I realize I’ve acted churlishly and for that I apologize.”
She held herself still, her hands clasped in her lap.  He’d apologized - that was something. 
“As you said,” Adam continued, “what happened in the past can’t be changed.  It’s the present and future we need to concentrate on, and how to make them livable for the both of us.”
She knew those words hadn’t come easily to him and that she should be grateful.  He’d offered an olive branch of sorts, a sign of compromise from a man who thought compromise was a weakness.  Expecting more from him would be unrealistic.  The least she could do was meet him half way.  “How do you suggest we do that?”
“We made vows to each other in front of God and your neighbors,” he said.  “It’s important that we be true to those.”
“I never planned to do otherwise.”
He gave a tight smile.  “Then we’re agreed.  It might take some effort, but in time it will likely become second nature for us to get along amenably.”
Amenably. Now didn’t that just sound like the most romantic way to start off a new marriage? 
Reggie, stood, needing some activity, some distance from Adam.  “You haven’t eaten anything tonight.  Let me at least get you some cheese and bread.”
Adam stood as well.  “I could use a bite of something.”
She unwrapped the block of cheese and reached for a knife while Adam took a clean cup from the drain board and uncorked the jug of cider.
He stood beside her, so close their shoulders nearly touched.  It rattled her for some reason, made her breath uneven. 
Did he feel anything at all?
Reggie sliced into the cheese with more vigor than care, then jerked her finger up to her lips, wincing at the metallic tang of blood.
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Adam immediately set his cup down, concern furrowing his brow.  “Let me see that.”
She pulled her finger out of her mouth and shook her head.  “It’s nothing.  The knife slipped.  I--”
“Don’t argue.”  He took her hand, examining the cut with a concerned frown.
Reggie stared down at her hand in his.  A tiny rivulet of blood seeped from the shallow cut, curling around her finger and onto his, like a narrow ribbon binding them together.
Amazing that such large, work-callused hands could feel so warm and gentle without losing their sense of strength. 
“I’m sure it’s nothing serious,” she said.  “It doesn’t even hurt.”  Not a lie since all she could feel at this moment was his touch, his nearness.
“Let’s clean it and get a better look, just in case.”  Still holding her hand, he dipped a clean rag in the nearby bucket of water, then slowly squeezed it over her finger.  Head bent, he gently dabbed at the remaining blood.
Reggie stared down at his head, so close she could smell the scent of soap and cigar smoke and night air.  So close her breath stirred his hair.  So close she could press her lips to his temple without moving much at all.
She pulled slightly back at that very inappropriate thought.
His head came up, his gaze seeking hers.  “Did I hurt you?” 
Not in any way I can explain.  She shook her head, not trusting herself to speak. 
“Well then, I think you’re right.  It’s not serious.  The bleeding’s already stopped.”  He let go of her hand.  “You’re obviously tired.  Go on to bed.  I can fix my own meal.”
“Don’t worry.  I’ll clean up when I’m done.”
Reggie nodded and turned away, realizing nothing much had changed.  He was talking to her again, but he didn’t care to spend any more time in her company than he had to.

What do you think – did I pull you in? Did I give you an emotional connection to my heroine with those added touches of sight, sound, taste, touch and hearing?

So that’s the five senses we normally think of, and I’m sorry I wasn’t quite as brief as I’d planned to be J

What I really wanted to talk about today was the fact that there are other senses we can tap into and take advantage of when we write. Yes, there are more than five. In fact, some neurologists claim there are as many as twenty-one! I don’t plan to explore all of those today, you can google them if, like me, you find that kind of discussion fascinating. Instead I’m going to explore just the three additional senses that I think we writers can make the most use of.

Sense of Time
How we experience the passing of time, be it seconds or days, is a true sense. Writers use this all the time when we write phrases such as the days passed in a blur, time seemed to stand still, she fell down the slope in slow motion. In doing this we are attempting to pull the reader into our character’s head, have them experience the sense of time distortion with our character.

Here’s an example, from my book Handpicked Husband
The scene unfolded with tortuous slowness.  Each detail etched itself in her mind with gruesome vividness - the grim determination on Adam’s face, the bulging muscles in his arm as he strained to turn the tiller, the bone-jarring jolts his body absorbed as the runaway motor carriage careened out of control.

Then the motor carriage slammed into the photography wagon and time stampeded forward again.

Only when Ira’s hand released her did Reggie realize she’d been struggling to race forward.  Now she picked up her skirts and dashed toward the splintered mess.

Please God, let him be all right.

Sense of Equilibrium
This is what allows us to keep our balance. It also helps us to perceive gravity and the acceleration and directional changes of our bodies.  When this sense isn’t working properly we get dizzy, disoriented and/or unusually clumsy. Often, when in the throes of some strong emotion – grief, exultation, passion – we’ll experience a temporary impairment of this sense. As a writer you’ll want to tap into this.

Here’s an example, again from my book Handpicked Husband
Something inside him, some weight that had been there so long he’d ceased to feel it, began to crumble, then evaporate entirely.  His world shifted from one heartbeat to the next, leaving him with a lost, dizzy feeling and he reached for the table to steady himself.

Sense of Space
It’s how we perceive distances. And while this might, on the surface, seem to be fixed, we all have our own unique sense of space. A small vehicle might seem cramped to one person might feel comfortingly cocooning to another. We all have a different sense of our personal space so that when I (being southern) greet you with a hug, you may feel I’ve overstepped a boundary of sorts. And a stressful situation may make you feel like the walls are closing in or like we’re caught in a vacuum.  Again, you want to use this sense to create an emotional experience your reader can relate to.

This example, taken from Second Chance Hero, weaves in both the senses of time and space.
For an agonizing heartbeat, as the wagon bore down on her daughter, time stopped.  Verity felt every irregularity in the pebble that bit into her palm, could taste the tang of blood from where she’d bit the inside of her cheek when she fell, could see the dust motes hanging in the air before her.
Please Jesus. Please Jesus. Please Jesus.
She wasn’t sure whether she was uttering the frantic prayer aloud or if it was just shrieking through her thoughts.
From somewhere a woman screamed, but all sounds, save for the wagon’s relentless rumbling progress, seemed to come from a great distance as her world shrunk to only the space between herself and Joy. How could mere feet comprise such a life-or-death distance? 
And still Joy didn’t move.
Then, from out of nowhere, Mr. Cooper shot past her, and time sped up with a whoosh.  He dove toward Joy, reaching her a heart-stopping split-second before the horse’s hooves would have trampled the child, and pushing her out of the way.
Without remembering having moved, Verity was suddenly kneeling in the road with her weeping daughter clutched tightly against her.  Her heart thudded painfully against her chest and her breath came in near-gasps.  She’d come so close to losing her precious baby.  She could still feel the stab of keening desolation that pierced her the moment she’d realized she couldn’t get to Joy in time, couldn’t cross those few feet that might as well have been a chasm. 
This time the prayer she sent up was one of thanksgiving.

So there you have it, three additional senses you can think about and weave into your work when you’re trying to layer in those emotional nuances that are so important.

What do you think? Do you consider Time, Equilibrium and Space true senses, and should they be added to your writing toolbox? What other senses do you play around with when you are adding layers to your work? And as a reader, do these kinds of details draw you in?

Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for Texas Cinderella.
Texas Cinderella

In Search of a Groom 
After a life of drudgery on her family's farm, Cassie Lynn Vickers relishes her freedom working in town as a paid companion for feisty Mrs. Flanagan. When her father suddenly demands she come home, she has no choice. Unless she can find a husband. If only she could convince handsome town newcomer Riley Walker to marry her… 
Riley is on the run. He's desperate to keep his niece and nephew safe from his crooked half brother. But a delay in Turnabout, Texas, shows him everything he didn't know he was missing: home, family—and Cassie Lynn. Can he find a way to become her Prince Charming…and build a real family with the children and Cassie Lynn?


Born and raised in the bayou country of southeast Louisiana, Winnie Griggs moved to the opposite corner of the state when she married her college sweetheart over 25 years ago. She and her husband, along with their four teenage children, reside in Plain Dealing, a small community nestled in the piney hill country of northwest Louisiana.
With a BS degree in mathematics and a minor in Computer Science, Winnie has held an 8:00-5:00 job in the Computer Programming/Information Technology field since she graduated from college. But her first love has always been reading and writing romances. During the years preceding her sale she submitted to numerous writing contests and won or placed in many of these. Her biggest thrill, however, came in May of 2000 when she received that dream-come-true call heralding her first sale.

Winnie belongs to numerous writing organizations, including Romance Writers' of America and several of its local and special interest chapters. She is active in these groups as well as in her church - after all, she's a firm believer in the adage that you reap in proportion to what you sow.


Trixi said...

I love it when an author pulls me in and makes me feel everything the characters do!! It's the connection I look for in every story :-) Because for me anyway, I'd say character depth is the number one most important thing to me as a reader. If I can connect with them, then you have me hooked! And I want that connection to feel as real as making new friends...where I can root for them, cheer for them, cry with them, laugh with them, etc.

Winnie, your excerpts definitely drew me in, now I have two more books added on my must-read list (Hand-picked husband and Second Chance Hero). You sure know how to evoke those emotions in your characters! Please add my name to the cowboy hat for a chance at Texas Cinderella, thanks so much!

Fun post!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Now there was a long holiday weekend, and so much accomplished! Hurrah!.

Winnie, welcome back to Seekerville.

This is such an excellent refresher. Thank you.

Where did that book title come from? I love it. Looking forward to reading this new release!

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Trixi. So glad you enjoyed the excerpts and that this post spoke to you. And of course your name is entered in the drawing!

Winnie Griggs said...

Thanks for the warm welcome Tina, I always enjoy my visits to Seekerville. The title for Texas Cinderella actually came from my editors and I must say it is one of my favorites :)

Cindy W. said...

Hi Winnie! Thank you for the great post. I love it when an author can make me feel, see, hear, taste and smell. I just finished a book in which there was a lot of dust blowing and I could smell it, feel it, see it, hear it and tasted it. I love it when an author can create a setting and characters that are so believable that they draw me into their story and I become one with it.

I would love to be in your giveaway. I love Texas (my brother lives there) and my nickname by some people is Cinderella (only because my name is Cindy). I love your title.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Jill Weatherholt said...

Welcome, Winnie! Thanks for the terrific post. I love your title! It's so different from many of the Love Inspired books. Was that your original title?

Jackie said...

Hi Winnie,

Welcome back to Seekerville! I love your post. The sense of time has been on my mind this weekend, and how interesting you listed it today. You gave me a lot to think about.

Great title for your book! It sounds like a great story.

Jackie said...

Congratulations to the finalists in Pages from the Heart:

Cindy Regneir, A Refuge For Her Heart
Jeanne M. Dickson, Second Chance Ranch
Jodie Wolfe, Taming Julia
Tina Radcliffe, Welcome to Clear Creek

Way to go ladies! (If I left anybody out, I'm so sorry.)

Josee Telfer said...

Thank you for the thorough post, Winnie!

As a new writer who's finishing her first book, I've been going back over each scene to see if there is any way I can flesh out my characters more and a big part of that is weaving in the senses. I love that you not only touched on the five major senses but three of the others. I particularly enjoy weaving in sense of smell and touch but also space and equilibrium too!

Thanks for giving me something to think about!

Rose said...

Hi Winnie,

Your spin on the Cinderella story sounds great! Can't wait to pick it up.

I love the last part of your post with the 'lesser' known senses. The sense of space is a good one. It could really ramp up tension in a story ending if someone was claustrophobic and had to hide in a small space or be packed tight in a small cabin during a snow storm.

Caryl Kane said...

WINNIE, I enjoyed this interesting post! I love to be able to "experience" the story along with the characters.


Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, WINNIE! Welcome back! 21 senses...I'll definitely have to Google those as you suggest. The way we "interpret" time is definitely a sense of sorts. The minutes ticking by don't change, but our perceptions certainly do! Thank you for the refresher!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

What marvelous scenes!!!! First, you used the word "churlishly" and I fell in love RIGHT THEN, my friend!

Second, the warmth evoked in these scenes is exactly what I love about your writing, Winnie.

You draw, you pull, you entice the reader in...

And then keep them there, to the end.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jackie, thanks for the finalist update!!!! Yay for all o' youse! Happy dancing in upstate NY!!!!


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Today is my last day of kids... School starts tomorrow. I am delighted to have been here for all these kiddos this summer, but I miss my extra writing time! Tomorrow.... The days of second writing sprints have arrived.

Winnie, I'm bringing fresh chocolate frosted cupcakes to share. Mostly because today is The Mighty Finn's actual birthday and we're doing a kid-centered celebration. Pizza and cupcakes. :)

Oh, to be a kid again and be able to mow down pizza and cupcakes whenever!!!

Janet Dean said...

WINNIE, welcome back to Seekerville! Loved your post! I believe that it's the details that create emotion in the reader. Your excerpts are wonderful. I always enjoy your books! I hadn't thought that time, equilibrium and space are senses. Thanks for planting that seed. I'll be far more aware of using them in my stories. I'll have to check out all 21, but I'll admit the idea of using that many is daunting. :-)

Math and computer science numb my mind. I'm impressed that you use both sides of your brain so effectively. You must be very organized to write, work a day job and raise four kids. Any tips?


Janet Dean said...

Huge congratulations to all the finalists of Pages of the Heart. Cindy and Tina, way to go!!


Janet Dean said...

RUTHY, happy birthday to the Mighty Finn!! Thanks for sharing the cupcakes!


ohiohomeschool said...

I love it when an author engages me with the senses. I like your added ones as well.
Happy Tuesday!

Cindy Regnier said...

This is a great post, Winnie. I struggle with this because I know using the words 'saw', 'heard','smelled', etc. is passive, but it's hard to describe the senses without them. Your examples did this beautifully. Thanks so much.

And: Thanks Janet! How can I possibly be in the same paragraph as Tina? Describe my senses about this!!!!!

Barbara Scott said...

Winnie, I loved your examples of using the senses in a story. So important. When I write a first draft, I usually hear thoughts and dialogue, then go back and layer in those sensory elements on the second and third drafts. It's the frosting on Ruthy's cupcakes.

I'don't love to read Texas Cinderella. Please throw my name into the hat.

And a big shout out to all the finalists in the Pages from the Heart contest!!! Congratulations!

Barbara Scott said...

Can somebody please tell me how to turn off auto correct on my phone!!! Aarghhh! That should read "I'd love to read," NOT "I'don't love to read." Sheesh.

Barbara Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barbara Scott said...

Winnie, I loved your examples of using the senses in a story. So important. When I write a first draft, I usually hear thoughts and dialogue, then go back and layer in those sensory elements on the second and third drafts. It's the frosting on Ruthy's cupcakes.

I'don't love to read Texas Cinderella. Please throw my name into the hat.

And a big shout out to all the finalists in the Pages from the Heart contest!!! Congratulations!

Barbara Scott said...

Fiddlesticks!!! I should know better than to use my phone to post. The auto correct drives me crazy! *I'd love* not "I'don't love."

Missy Tippens said...

Welcome back, Winnie! I loved this post. Loved your examples. I never would've thought of anything beyond the 5 sense. Thank you so much for opening my eyes to this!

Missy Tippens said...

LOL, Barbara. My autocorrect drives me crazy. In fact, I almost never "love" anything. I always "live" it! hahaha I've just about quit correcting myself because I mistype that so often, I think my kids now know that I love them even when I say I live them. :)

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Winnie, what a great post. I hadn't thought about time, equilibrium and space being senses, but a character (and hopefully our readers) will definitely feel the impact of each of these. Thanks for sharing your examples—they help me to better grasp how to begin using these more effectively in my stories.

kaybee said...

Winnie, this makes a lot of sense. I don't think I've consciously used the three extra senses, but I'm going to try.
We should make everything meaningful -- to that moment. Even in a 90,000-word book, we don't have space to waste, and certainly not in an LIH. Pretty much everything needs to count toward what OUR characters are feeling.
Don't enter me in the drawing, I've already won two books this month. :)
May check in later.
Kathy Bailey
Making It Count in NH

kaybee said...

But I will have a cupcake.

Vickie said...

Great post, Winnie. I'm working at being a better "senses" user in my writing. It's what I love about other people's books. When a writer puts me there in the story and makes me feel, smell, hear, taste, and touch what the characters are doing, that's a great book. I also like the other senses you mentioned, time, space, and equilibrium. I've used them in my own books, but didn't really think of them as senses until you mentioned it. From now on, I've got 8 senses to play with. What great fun. Thanks again for the tips.

Debby Giusti said...

I always enjoy your posts, Winnie. You're an excellent teacher.

Thanks for explaining how time, equilibrium and space fit into the "senses" category. I've used all three, but without thinking much about their merit.

Loved reading how you slow time for those intense moments. The technique fits nicely into a suspense. As your excerpt showed, it allows the writer to go into more detail at a moment when everything is happening much too quickly.

So nice seeing you at ACFW! Wasn't the conference wonderful! I'm still reliving the fun.


Meghan Carver said...

What a terrific post, Winnie. Those "extra" senses are the most enjoyable parts of writing, to the point where I wonder if I overdo it. :-) I agree with Debby that slowing down time would work wonderfully for suspense. I'll be thinking about that as I work on my next story. Thank you!

Marianne Barkman said...

Welcome to Seekerville, Winnie. I always love to pick up one of your novels because I know that I will be drawn into them. I just wish you wrote longer ones! The ones I've read end too quick. The sense of smell is one that unfortunately I'm not blessed with in abundance. Basically, if I can taste the smell on my tongue I can also smell it (skunk close by being on of them). Sense of direction? I can almost always say which direction I am driving without a compass. Needless to say, I can't connect well when you say it smells like apple pie, and when someone is mixed up in directions I can't relate either.
Congratulations to the authors who won

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Cindy W. You're quite welcome. And LOL, it sounds like Texas Cinderella was written (or at least titled) just for you!

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Jill. No, this title was nothing at all like what I envisioned for the book, but I have to say, as soon as my editor suggested it I fell in love with it

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Jackie - I always enjoy my time at Seekerville! And glad you found something that spoke to you in the post

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Josee. Congratulations on finishing your first book! What a wonderfu milestone to hit.

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Rose. Oh yes- effective depiction of claustrophobia can be a huge factor in ramping up tension in a scene

Phyllis Wheeler said...

Well done, Winnie! Your books do draw me in so it must work :)

Please enter me in the drawing for Texas Cinderella.

May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

Sandy Smith said...

Good to have you back, Winnie. Very interesting post with a lot to think about as I write. Please enter me in the drawing for Texas Cinderella. Intriguing title!

Mary Connealy said...

I love this, Winnie. More than five senses. What a great way to look at it!

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Caryl. Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for the well wishes.

Winnie Griggs said...

Glynna - ah a kindred spirit in needing to dig :). And yes, it's more about perceptions than realities when it comes to drawing readers in.

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Ruthie! It was so fun seeing you at ACFW! And thanks for those very kind words about my writing - you know I love your books as well.

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Janet, glad you enjoyed the post! And LOL, if you could see my house you would NEVER call me organized.
As for tips, I no longer have the day job and my kids have flown the nest, but back in the day my deep dark secret was that my work generated a great deal of travel for me. Most of my writing back then was done in airports and hotel rooms.

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Becky. Thanks for stopping by and happy Tuesday to you as well!

Janet Dean said...

CINDY R, you're spilling over with tears of joy.

Proud of you!


Myra Johnson said...

Welcome, Winnie! Very interesting post, and something to think about with the additional senses we have to work with! Seems like time, equilibrium, and space are sort of like senses-beneath-the-senses, tied in many ways to our physical five senses but experienced more on the emotional/mental level.

Curious now to look up all those other additional senses!

Janet Dean said...

WINNIE, plane travel may offer more time to write than most of us want, as in missing connections! Glad things are a little easier now without the day job and with the kids grown.


Nicky Chapelway said...

I've never really considered these senses, but looking back I see that I've added them into my books, even if I didn't make a conscious effort to do so. I really only did it because I read it in other books. One thing my characters do actually do quite often is to lose track of time (partially because I am always losing track of time) I don't know if that counts as the sense of time though, since it is really kind of the opposite.

Please enter my name into the drawing for your book.

Chill N said...

Years ago I took an online workshop about 11 senses. One of the senses that intigued me was thermoception -- the way we sense heat and cold. (I suppose technically it's an extension of the sense of touch.) After taking the course, I noticed how often thermoception is used in fiction ... like when two characters are in the same environment and one suddenly feels a chill the other doesn't feel. Or a character notices a shift in the wind bringing cooler air and changing weather.

This is a fun post, Winnie. Thanks for the excerpt examples!

Nancy C

Chill N said...

Oh my gosh! Look at those familiar names in the finalists for Pages from the Heart. Congratulations!

And thanks for letting us know, Jackie.

Nancy C

Kathryn Barker said...

Hi Winnie,

Really enjoyed this post today!! And love both titles of your books! A Cinderella in Texas sounds intriguing!

One sense...I guess it could be called a sense... that seems to differ with people is pain. Not sure it could be used in a romance book? My precious nephew has an incredible tolerance for pain. But me, I scream at the sight of blood...and had to learn to calm myself when our children would get hurt. My body actually hurts in the same spot where someone has an injury...and my stomach does flip-flops. I gave up wanting to be a nurse at an early age when I realised there might be "ouchies and blood" involved. It takes lots of prayer and self-talk for me to visit family and friends in the hospital.

Congrats to the finalists in Pages from the Heart!!

Would love to be entered in the drawing for your book.

Take care and happy writing and reading everyone!!

Mary Connealy said...

We were talking about Westernized fairy tales. Winnie's doing it!!!

CatMom said...

Excellent post, Winnie - - thank you! I must say that all of your posts are in my Keeper File, and I've referred back to them. :)

CONGRATS to all the Pages from the Heart Finalists!! Woohoo!!

RUTHY, I didn't realize that the Mighty Finn and I share a b'day (although he seems to live a more adventuresome life than I do, LOL). ;)

I know Ruthy brought cupcakes, but when those are gone please help yourself to my pound cake - - with peach icing of course! :)

Hugs, Patti Jo

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Cindy - don't be fooled - I totally struggle with it as well. Most of the sensory info doesn't get layered into my stories until the third and fourth passes through.

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Barbara - I love that analogy - frosting on the cupcake. I
may just steal it:)

Winnie Griggs said...

Thanks Missy - glad you enjoyed the post!

Winnie Griggs said...

Hello Jeanne - you're quite welcome - If I made you think about these even a little bit then my job is done :)

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Kaybee - you're absolutely right. No matter the length of a book, everything in there should contribute to furthering the story or characterization - everything else is just padding, the stuff a reader will skim over looking for the 'good parts'

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Vickie - glad you enjoyed the post. Much of this stuff we do instinctively but it's always nice to gt refresher, don't you think

Mary Connealy said...

Patti Jo is today your birthday?
I saw that on Facebook...and told you hapPy birthday there!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Winnie Griggs said...

Hello Debby, and thanks for those very kind words about my posts. And I enjoyed having the chance to visit with you at ACFW - always a treat to see your smiling face!

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Meghan! And yes, while those 'extra' senses are effective whatever your genre, they are particularly useful in amping up tension which lends itself well to suspense and thrillers.

Winnie Griggs said...

Thanks for the welcome Marianne. And I am touched by your sweet words about my writing.

Tanya Agler said...

Winnie, Thank you for this post. Yes, as a romance writer, I think the senses of equilibrium and space are important. It can be crucial to show when a character wants to be close to the action and when he (or she) is trying to pull back and distance himself from the others.

Tina and Cindy, So happy for you and happy I'm in a different category (Short Contemporary) in the Pages from the Heart Contest!

Happy birthday to Finn and Patti Jo!

(The comments are always worth reading, too!)

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Phyllis. Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for those kind words.

Winnie Griggs said...

Thanks for the welcome Sandy! And of course you're entered in the drawing!

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Mary! I figured trying to discuss all 21 senses would be a bit much, but those three additional ones I included here are those I tend to tap into often.

Winnie Griggs said...

Hello Myra - senses-beneath-the-senses, I like that!

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Nicky. And yes, these are things we can use without being consciously aware of it because it is a natural part of how we experience things.

Laura Conner Kestner said...

Love this, WINNIE! So interesting. I'm saving this post - I have a feeling I'll be referring back to it often. Thank you so much!

Congratulations to all the Pages from the Heart finalists - woo-hoo TINA, CINDY, TANYA!!

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Nancy. Thermoception is another good one to play with. Feeling a sudden chill or flush of heat outside of the temperature in the environment can be quite effective in putting the reader in the character's head.

Winnie Griggs said...

Thanks Kathryn! Interesting discussion of pain threshold. That is actually one of the 21 senses listed and it is called Nociception.

Winnie Griggs said...

Mary I LOVE fairy tales and own several collections

Winnie Griggs said...

Oh wow, Patti Jo, thanks for that kind note.

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Tanya, glad you agree with the post and found some value in it.

Winnie Griggs said...

Thanks Laura, glad you found something that really spoke to you in the post.

Bettie said...

I loved your additional senses. You've given us much food for thought. This post is definitely a keeper. Please throw my name in the hat for your Cinderella book. It looks like a great read.
I really enjoyed meeting many Seekers at ACFW. What an amazing experience. You ladies are sweet in real life!

Boo Smelser said...

Wow, those senses make so much sense- how could I never have consciously thought so before? Though, of the four of them, I have to say I use the sense of time the most. I wonder, is a sense of one's visceral feelings also an official sense? Because I use that one a lot too.

Crystal said...

I had never thought of those! They are definitely something I will be practi get layering into my writing! Thank you Winnie! I really loved your examples. I will definitely have to check out Handpicked Husband. My curiosity is peaked!

Kathryn, I am right there with you. I had to repeat out loud over and over again that head wounds bleed as I cleaned up my son's busted head. Funny enough, and I don't know how he did it, he busted it on the toilet seat on Christmas Eve when he was 5.

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Bettie, glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for dropping by.

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Boo. I'm not sure I understand what you mean by a sense of one's visceral sense, but I'm intrigued. Can you give me an example?

Winnie Griggs said...

Hi Crystal. Glad I could introduce you to something new! And knowing my excerpt intrigued yo makes me smile!

Bettie said...

I loved your additional senses. You've given us much food for thought. This post is definitely a keeper. Please throw my name in the hat for your Cinderella book. It looks like a great read.
I really enjoyed meeting many Seekers at ACFW. What an amazing experience. You ladies are sweet in real life!

Tina Radcliffe said...

The editor hits one out of the ball park. Terrific title. Forms a question mark for the reader right away.

Beth Erin said...

Good to see you back in Seekerville, Winnie! I enjoyed your excerpts and I love it when authors pull me into the story with all the senses!

Beth Erin said...

Good to see you back in Seekerville, Winnie! I enjoyed your excerpts and I love it when authors pull me into the story with all the senses!

Cate Nolan said...

Wow! Thanks, Winnie. I'm a bit brain dead after our first day back at school so I'm going to save this to savor this weekend. I really appreciate the depth of this post.

Mary Preston said...

As a reader I do find that the layered detail does draw me in.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Winnie Sorry I missed you yesterday. Looks like you had a great turnout. Thanks for all of your contributions and great points to take into account. smile

Have a blessed week and thanks again.

Rebecca McLafferty said...

Wow, I particularly enjoyed your excerpts, Winnie. I truly enjoyed them and all they did to illustrate how the senses bring the story--and the characters--to life. Great job!

Julie Lessman said...

WINNIE!! I'm a day late and WAY more than a dollar short, so I apologize. Between the holiday and a deadline, I'm off by a few days, so I apologize for the delay in coming by. I always love your posts, and this one is no exception.

Never EVER thought about there being additional senses, but WOW, you sure opened my eyes on something I have never heard discussed before, so THANK YOU! Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks? ;)

The excerpts were GREAT, and talking about hooking us in! You go, girl!!


Boo Smelser said...

What I mean by visceral sensitivity is basically gut feelings. Like when you feel sick to your stomach, like you've been punched in the gut, or like a family of butterflies have sought shelter in your tummy.

Holly Ison said...

As a reader, space, equilibrium and especially time are very important to me. Numbers and dates are keys in my life. Many of my memories are associated with specific dates, and so I find myself looking for time in the books I read. I prefer books that keep the date updated throughout the chapters and that give character's ages and such. I find it easier to relate to them when I know their age. I also love being drawn into a book and feel like I am right there with them, living their experience. Equilibrium and space both really help with that. Thanks so much for the great post, and thanks for the opportunity to win! :)