How to value your reader’s time by engaging them in the story, Part IV

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Ok let’s now move onto another sense and how it can help advance your writing: touch.

Yet another underrated sense, touch is just as important as any other sense we’ve discussed. In real life we identify touch when our skin comes into contact with something. If we stroke an Angora cat’s back we associate it with softness. If we touch sandpaper we say its rough.

Now let me show you how to engage your reader with touch.

Example one: Henry grasped the chilled coke bottle in his hand and guzzled down the fluid.

Not very touchy/feely is it?

Let’s try again.

Example two: Henry grasped the coke bottle. Its cold glass numbed his palm, making it feel as if he had stuck his hand in the freezer, yet, on a day as hot as today, he welcomed it.

Better.

See the difference? In Example one we are TOLD that its cold. There’s no association with that. But in Example two we are shown, we feel the cold bottle in our hands. It’s as if we are there, in Henry’s shoes on that hot summer day.
The narrative in example two blows example one away. Hands down. I’m sure you’ll agree.

Got time for one more example? Sure you do!

Example one: Betty stroked the back of her Labrador, Joey. Joey’s fur felt good and relaxed her after a long day at work.

Nope. Let’s try this.

Example two: Betty ran her fingers though her Labrador’s coat. It felt like soft velvet, tickling her fingers and palm, and eased her troubled mind after a long day at work.

I think we agree which is better for narrative.

So to sum things up. Make sure when using similes in your writing, that you use your imagination and find something that can easily relate to the touch sense. It will had depth to your writing and help your reader associate with what you are trying to say.

T.A. Uner

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