Cyle Young at Hartline Literary Agency has a wonderful post on using the sense of touch in writing.
This sense is often underused because we are such sight-dependent beings. Unless you have a character who is blind, is in a dark setting, or is an animal or imaginary creature whose main sense is touch, this sense gets crowded out by sight and touch.
Reviewing my own book, I see I used the sense of touch to convey the humidity of its summer setting. Humidity forces me to explore the sense of touch because it is the only way to experience it.
When my main character works on a roof all through a humid July day, he says, “I felt like I’d gone swimming in tomato soup.” He describes a mist as “clinging to my skin like a fungus.”
When my main character is sneaking around his property in the West Virginia mountains in the dead of night, I will try to include some description of touch, Right now, I only mention the wind whipping around him and sweating.
If you want to practice your writing with touch, write a comment to Mr. Young’s post. Or use the above photo. What’s interesting about using this photo as a writing exercise is that there are at least two people touching the jellyfish and possibly three. Each character can experience the feel of the jellyfish in a unique way, and that way tells something about him or her.
For example, the hand coming from the left looks like a child’s and he can be thrilled with touching a live jellyfish while the hand hovering behind can belong to an adult who touched the creature and was revolted. (I might share that reaction).
How would you use the sense of touch in the photo above?
I imagine touching the tentacles would give a very memorable reaction. I have never touched one, but always thought it would feel a bit like really firm jello with sand mixed in.
I am sensitive to textures, so a jellyfish could feel cool and refreshing or revolting.