Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Other Senses

I always try to focus on other senses besides sight when writing: for whatever reason, smell comes very readily, and I often use it in a metaphorical sense. Touching fiction with these other senses fills in another dimension; focusing on them produces unusual results. I just finished a short story for a contest on first contact situations that follows a character who has never been allowed to touch or come into contact with just about anything, so to describe sensations from her perspective, I had to use a lot of synesthesia - things that feel like sounds or sights. I'm also doing an exercise right now from the point of view of an old RPG character, Klervyn. (I can take no credit for the name.) Now, I've changed some of the weirder aspects, but he basically doesn't use his eyes - as a conscious choice, not because he's blind. Describing things with minimal to no visuals is quite a challenge. The specific exercise is to use an idiosyncratic mode of perception, and it seemed to fit.

I'm also working on a new novel project. I've decided to weigh the point of view characters just a bit and see how it turns out. Chailyn, who has lived most of her life in a quasi-underwater environment, is very aware of smells because of the drastic shift from one to the other. Kit, who has an overactive imagination and typical teen angst, is very conscious of shadows. I should be able to use this to play up a certain claustrophobia and suspense in the story, as they spend much of it evading the main antagonist with no way of knowing where he is or when he might catch up to them.

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