Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! This week we will be taking a look at the fifth sense – touch. So far we’ve looked at how the senses: sight, sound, smell, and taste can be worked into your writing to make it more vivid, and open up some images that will make your work soar that you might not have thought of otherwise.
So how can we make touch work for us in our writing? Well, when you imagine what a fluffy kitten feels like and you use that image as a description in your work that would be one way. You could take that image and make it a line of a poem, or description in your story. Another would be to imagine what it’s like to touch your lover’s skin, and what sensations can be described from that one stroke, or the electricity that comes from holding one another’s hand. In addition, most of us know what it’s like to hold a newborn baby, whether in the capacity of mother or father, sister or brother, or family member or friend – it’s cliché now to speak of something being as “smooth as a baby’s butt” or “soft as a newborn baby’s skin,” but you could take that image – remembering what that touch feels like to you, and create a unique image in your writing based on that touch.
Just like with all of the other senses, there can be disconcerting images that comes from touch. And those images can certainly conjure up some good writing! Isn’t it odd how sometimes the worst images can make for the most vivid writing? It’s not always true, but it is something else to ponder. What might be some bad images that fall under touch? Maybe it’s a slap or a punch from someone in the heat of the moment – that certainly is a “bad touch.” Have you ever reached into a microwave to grab a coffee mug and burnt yourself? That’s not a good touch either.
Maybe you’ve been in a creative writing class or at a party where there’s that game/activity where you’re blindfolded and then asked to touch certain objects and guess what they are (at a party) or describe what you’re touching (creative writing class) – you can perhaps touch spaghetti that, by touch alone, feels like you’ve just put your hands into a bowl full of worms, or maybe your mind goes elsewhere! Or maybe there are olives in a pan and you feel like you’re touching eyeballs…or again, maybe this touch of “slimy and slick” evokes some other feeling….
Depending on whether you like to be tickled or not, that can certainly evoke some sensations that are delivered to us through touch.
We associate touch with our hands, but there are certainly other ways of touching: with full body hugs, with cuddling, with our noses, with our tongues; what about our feet – that soft grass between our toes? Well, you get the picture – anyplace that we have nerve endings and skin is pretty much fair game for our sense of touch. With that said, here’s your twelfth prompt:
“Getting all “Touchy Feel-y!”
1) Start being more conscious of what you touch and how it feels. What does that pen you’re holding really feel like? What does your dog licking your face feel like? In your daybook make a list of things that you touch everyday…and don’t notice at all. Now show what it feels like.
2) What are you conscious of? On another page of your daybook, or in another column, make a list of things that you touch every day and you do notice – maybe that good morning kiss, maybe the cat rubbing your leg, maybe you grabbed for the microwave popcorn a little too soon this afternoon…be aware of your surroundings. Write those sensations down.
3) After you have your lists generated, pick out the one you like best and write for 10 minutes or until you exhaust the topic. Then, if your first touch was a good one – look at the list, what is something that makes you go “Ewww?” Take that one and write on it for 10 minutes or until the topic is exhausted.
4) When you’ve found the “touch” that gives you the most energy – find a way to make it into a poem, work it into your short story, flash fiction, play, or creative nonfiction piece. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the interesting writing that you’ll get by just being more aware of touch…and how it will energize whatever it is you’re writing.
5) After you’ve written that poem, or one of the other genres – see what you can do to pare down, or add to your work (if needed), and then as always: revise, revise, revise…and when you think you’re done revising…do it one more time!
As with the other prompts, I believe you will find that this works well with whatever genre you choose!
As with all writing, this “touchy” subject should be fun! And I remind you that if you ever want to share any successes or attempts that you get from these prompts, don’t hesitate to let me know. You can contact me here.
Look for another prompt next Wednesday! Until then, keep writing!