Physical Manifestations of Emotion

I have known for a couple of years now that I have difficulty including sensory detail in my stories. I experience the world through thoughts and thought processes. I don’t necessarily remember how things smell or taste or sound–I remember specific images, dates, and numerical or logical details. I remember what I thought at the time.

For example, a few years ago, I went to an air-show on an especially sunny and hot day, and I got heat exhaustion. I don’t remember how I felt, the heat on my skin, the thirst or anything like that unless I try really hard. What I do remember is thinking, “I feel miserable.” I remember sitting on a concrete floor in a hanger near a table where a dismantled M-16 was on display thinking, “All these people probably think I’m weird.” If I try hard, I can remember that everything echoed, I faintly remember cool air coming from somewhere; I vaguely remember the cold concrete floor.

One of my good friends is studying psychology and counseling. When I asked her to read Part 1 of Book Two, she sweetly agreed and has given me insights based on her training. She reminded me that a young man probably wouldn’t be able to articulate his feelings as well as my MC does. She encouraged me to use physical manifestations of emotion rather than just saying, “he was angry” or “he felt sad.” What does being angry feel like? Did his muscles tense or weaken? Did his back ache or his neck hurt? When I mentioned my trouble with recognizing sensory detail in my own life, she suggested sitting still and quiet and counting backwards from ten while focusing on what my body is experiencing.

For any other intuitive rather than sensory writers, I hope you find this helpful. Happy Writing!

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