Thursday, August 18, 2016

5 Ways to Write Using the Five Senses—Touch

by Cyle Young @CyleYoung

Different body parts experience the sensation of touch in unique ways. Fingertips have heightened levels of sensitivity, but the tip of an elbow is desensitized. 

Depending on how you touch on object with certain body parts the feeling or experience will be different and should be described relative to the sensation.

A few weeks ago I went camping in Northern Michigan. As I hung my hammock in the trees, the continual prick of pine needles tickled against my bare arms and legs. Sometimes, I’d turn the wrong way and the pointed ends of the pine branches jabbed into my skin like sharp knives. In mere seconds my goosebumps transformed into searing pain.

The ground was covered with a thick layer of dead pine needles providing a soft pillow-like cushion for going barefoot. Each step felt as though I walked on puffy clouds.

In only a few minutes I was able to experience three distinct ways to experience the sense of touch as it relates to pine needles. Depending on the nature of my trip, I could use any of these three descriptions to set a specific tone for a story. If I was writing a happy joy filled scene, I could describe the fluffy cloud-like layer of pine needles. Or, if I was writing about a bad trip, I could describe the scene using the piercing pain of pine branches. Both ways set different tones and atmosphere for a story.

You can use your sense of touch to set powerful tones for your writing scenes.

Take at least 60 seconds and stare at the image below. Put yourself in this setting. What do you feel? What can you touch?

How many different ways can you describe the feel of the same object? Such as the water? The sand? The forest?

Challenge yourself to go deeper in your writing and describe your scene using the powerful sense of touch.

Leave your unique description of what you can feel” in the comments below. Make sure to take the time to always “touch” your setting, or storyworld and take care to describe it in an exceptionally engaging way. 

5 Ways to #Write Using the Five Senses, Touch - @CyleYoung on@EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Don't forget to round out your #writing with all 5 senses - @CyleYoung (Click to Tweet)

Cyle Young is thankful God blessed him with the uniqueness of being an ADD-riddled…SQUIRREL!...binge writer. Not much unlike the classic video game Frogger, Cyle darts back and forth between various writing genres. He crafts princess children’s stories, how-to advice for parents, epic fantasy tales, and easy readers.


  1. Great advice! I haven't looked at a picture merely from the perspective of touching the environment and all the different ways to interact with the nature around you.

  2. I think I am going to journal some of those experiences today. I am in northern michigan right now! The upper part in copper harbor. It has been a trip full of senses for sure!

  3. Thanks for the encouragement. I tend to write "bare bones," trying to get to the point without the fluff of descriptors. One of my critique buddies is big on including sensory perceptions and always comments on my writing, "Sharron, help me touch this, taste this, smell this..." This blog is another reminder of the importance of drawing in the reader using our senses.

  4. Inspirational message. I enjoyed the activity and will apply the awakened skill. Thank you for sharing your insight and discipline.

    Teach on!

  5. Love this series, Cyle! Incorporating the senses into a scene is one of my favorite ways to establish a mood. Susan May Warren's books on the writing craft has helped me a lot in this area.

    Thanks for the writing exercise! It's the perfect writing warm-up activity.


  6. What an excellent way to challenge our "remote" senses, to imagine ourselves physically embedded in a scene. Great writing practice. Thank you for this perspective!