For those of you who missed my first in the Seduction Of The Senses series - The Sense Of Touch posted last month, I’m going to go ahead and repost the introduction. Those of you who have already read it can move ahead to this month’s installment, the sense of sight.
What draws you into a book and makes you feel you are right there with the characters? Or better yet, into the head of the hero or heroine, sharing their experiences?
First and foremost, it’s well developed characters who evoke emotion from the reader whether it is a character you love or relate to and want them to find happiness, or even possibly someone you hate and want to see justice served in the end.
But there is so much more that goes into drawing you into a book than just telling a good story and developing great characters. Description brings a book to life. Description allows you see what the characters see, hear what they hear, feel what they feel, taste what they taste and yes, even smell what they smell. After I’ve completed the first draft of a book, one entire revision is done to add description, finding places where I can apply the uses of the senses to add depth to a scene.
It’s amazing what you can come up with when you are racking your brain for a topic for a monthly blog post and just happen to pick up a dusty old book from your resource stack.
Anyone ever hear of the old book THE SENSUOUS WOMAN by “J” written way back in the 60’s? A paragraph from the back cover blurb reads: Now “J” reveals her secret, step-by-step program that allows every woman to free her body, train her senses and realize her tremendous feminine capacity for giving and receiving pleasure. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, the book was written as an instruction manual of sorts, designed to bring out the sensual woman in you. The book included many exercises the readers can do to develop and heighten their senses and bring them in to play in lovemaking.
Doing a bit of research on the five senses, the information I came up with was interesting as well as extensive. Far too much information to work into a single blog post. So, I’ve decided to do something a bit different and break it up into five different posts, focusing on one of the five senses each month as used to enhance the written word as well as enhancing you lovemaking.
So called experts say that as a society we’ve become desensitized, our senses dulled. Lets see what we can do to sharpen things up a bit. Just for fun, I’ll give you a few exercises to try out each month, exercises designed to heighten each of the five senses.
While this is written primarily with women in mind, you men out there might learn a thing or two about pleasing your woman. It’s never too late to go back to the basics and rekindle the passion in any relationship.
For those of you who want to go back and pick up the first in the series – The Sense Of Touch: http://totalebound.blogspot.com/2008_03_01_archive.html
The Sense Of Sight:
She appeared to wilt before his eyes. Expecting her to buckle beneath the weight of her backpack at any moment, he instinctively reached out to offer support. But before he could make contact, she stiffened and literally jerked herself backward, out of his reach. In the process, J.T. caught a brief glimpse of discoloration high on one cheek bone which had been concealed by the wide lenses of her dark glasses.
He clenched his jaw and choked back the words to keep from asking a perfect stranger the question uppermost in his mind . . . and none of his business.
“Can you suggest any place in the area where I might find lodging for a couple of days? It doesn’t have to be on the lake.”
“Sorry,” he answered reluctantly, truly meaning it. It didn’t take a brilliant mind to put two and two together. With his FBI background, he’d picked up on the clues quicker than most: a lone woman hitchhiking; one clearly old enough and intelligent enough to know the risks; the way she constantly glanced over her shoulder; and her skittish, ready-to-bolt demeanor. The most conclusive evidence of all were the dark glasses to conceal bruising, and the long sleeved turtle-necked shirt, on a blistering hot July afternoon. She was mostly like a woman on the run, someone in need of a safe place to hole up for a while.
This one is fairly easy. As a writer you paint a picture of what you see only using words instead of paint. Yet two artists painting the same scene will end up with totally different paintings. One artist picks up all the various shades of color, shadows, highlights, and textures, giving his painting a three dimensional, lifelike effect. While the other artist’s painting is flat. One dimensional. It’s all a matter of perspective and interpretation. The question is, what do we really see? One person might see a tree, while another sees all the various color shades, shadows and textures, the individual leaves, maybe even insects crawling on the bark. It’s the detail that brings depth and dimension to a story, bringing it to life.
Exercise 1: From where you are at this moment, look around the room. What do you see? I see that I really need to get off this computer and do some cleaning. There is a cobweb in the corner, but if I was writing a paranormal it would only add ambiance. There is a bit of a shadow on the ceiling above the TV where I always have a candle burning, most likely created by the smoke from the flame. Look for the shadows and detail.
Grab a pen and paper. Write a description of a room in your house without going into that room first. Don’t cheat. Describe that room as if you were describing it to a reader. Now go into the room you described. Carefully analyze what you are seeing and compare it to your written description. Are there details you missed? Simple things like a pair of earrings on a bedside table, items on the top of a dresser, a curling iron laying on a vanity that was still plugged in, tooth paste spatters on a mirror, unwashed dishes in the kitchen sink, or expired items in a refrigerator. It’s the small, often missed details that add realism.
Exercise 2: Go outside and take a walk or a drive into the country. Make a conscious effort to look for details, colors, the shadows and textures. Pay attention to the individual branches on a tree, the individual leaves with their intricate pattern of veins. Check out houses, especially the old ones. Are they well cared for or neglected with faded, pealing paint, broken windows, sagging, age worn steps? What kind of story does the house tell?
Exercise 3: One of my favorite pastimes – People watching. Go to the mall, the park, or go to someplace like Starbucks. Sit and watch the people. One invaluable writing resource book that I constantly use is an old book on body language. How a person walks, how they carry themselves, their posture, whether or not they make direct eye contact. Are their arms crossed, loose at their sides? Body language will often tell you a lot about a person. Sometimes, actions do speak louder than words.
The sense of sight and sex: It’s common knowledge that sexually, men are more visual, while women tend to be more mental. Nevertheless, there are few women who don’t enjoy looking at a sexy man, clothed or nude. The sense of sight is truly one of our strongest sexual senses.
While some women find sexually explicit photos offensive, there is no denying that they have a physical effect on the body, as do erotic movies, and the written word. Sexually visual images triggers sexual impulses in our brain and our body responds accordingly.
Exercise 4: We all know that sexually explicit photos are easily accessible on the internet. Do a bit of site surfing. Pay close attention to how your body responds to specific photos. Do some images turn you on more than others? Do some turn you off?
Exercise 5: Need an outlet for exercise four. How long has it been since you really looked at your partner’s nude body in a sensual way, made mental note of how various parts react when you caress or kiss? Not only are you aroused by the sight of a nude body but your partner appreciates being appreciated and will respond in kind. Enjoy!
Working to develop your 5 senses and focusing on them while making love will not only enhance your own pleasure, but in the pleasure you give you lover as well.
If you try any of the Seduction Of The Senses exercises and are surprised by the results, please feel free to post a comment.
Until next time, when we explore The Sense Of Taste.