How do we convey the sense of touch, or feel, or kinesthetic (motion) in writing?
“The key to good imagery is engaging all five senses.” Five Types of Imagery:
“The five senses: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory (smell), and gustatory (taste).”
Now, let’s explore using the sense of touch to embellish and enhance writing.
Sometimes, the best way to learn is by example, learning from what others have written.
“At school, the guilt and sadness were like wearing clothes still damp from the wash,” and “Whenever I moved, I felt as though I were touching something icy.” —Family Life by Akhil Sharma
I know what that feels like, so when I read this, I can feel those damp clothes and know what the author wants to convey.
Here’s an example of using movement in writing:
“By the thirteenth loop, my hands were cement-scuffed and my head was spinning from being at knee height for so long, but the parade of hoping, bear-crawling, push-upping women showed no sign of slowing.” — Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall, describing parkour (a training discipline using movement developed from military obstacle course training.)
McDougall could have written “I was worn-out” or “I was tired.” Instead he uses specific details: “cement-scuffed” and “my head was spinning.” He employed strong verbs: “bear-crawling” and “push-upping.”
With this type of strong writing, readers can feel the chafed hands and most of us probably can relate to “head-spinning.” I can see “bear-crawling” and “push-upping.”
A note about parkour: “Practitioners aim to get from one point to another in a complex environment, without assistive equipment and in the fastest and most efficient way possible. Parkour includes running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, rolling, quadrupedal movement, and other movements as deemed most suitable for the situation.” — Parkour, Wikipedia
Looking at websites about physical activities (martial arts, gymnastics,dance, etc) could help you find action verbs.
In Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch, Let Verbs Power Your Writing, Constance Hale regales readers with her unique style about usage of the English language, especially strong verbs. Constance has been dubbed “Marion the Librarian on a Harley, or E. B. White on acid.” Kathy Myers wrote an excellent review of Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch.
Practice using strong verbs and specific descriptive words to make your writing strong and create images the reader can see and sense. You can go to Parkour Images, choose a photo and describe it, using sensory detail. Just write!
Basic Parkour Movements