Senses: More than Five

Hey, gang!

I don’t know if anyone is still reading this blog.  I’ve been head’s down the past few months.  I’ve reached a new level of discipline in my writing.  I’m averaging around 2500 words per day for the past several months.  I’ve gotten a lot done but I haven’t blogged very much.

But I saw an interesting page and wanted to say something about it.

When we’re writing and we’re trying to describe our scenes, we’ve been told to try to engage all five senses:  sight, taste, sound, smell, touch.  When I’m trying to get my descriptions of my settings right, I’ll even make up a list of things for each of those senses that my POV character would notice and color them with the emotion of my POV character. 

But I stumbled upon a jpg  ( and one of the sections said that humans have more than 5 senses and possibly up to about 20.  That’s kinda amazing.  Besides the normally accepted five, they give us:

  • Pressure
  • Itch
  • Temperature
  • Proprioception (being able to sense where your body parts are in relation to each other)
  • Muscle tension
  • Balance (this includes acceleration and directional changes)
  • Dilation of blood vessels (stretch receptors; headaches)
  • Chemoreceptors (detect presense of hormones and drugs in the blood)
  • Thirst
  • Hunger
  • Magnetic Fields (?  Really?  I didn’t know we could sense those)
  • Time (this has been debated but experimental data has shown humans have a very accurate sense of time)

Although these aren’t senses we normally need to include in a scene, these senses could add richness and depth to others.  Let’s say your protag is blindfolded and dumped into a river, sensing where his bodyparts are and what they’re doing could be interesting to incorporate and could add needed depth.  Showing someone’s sense of time getting screwed up because of drugs or something in a hostage situation or something, etc.

Anyway, just thought I’d share.  Don’t know if it will be helpful.



3 Responses to “Senses: More than Five”

  1. Good to hear from you again, TPN.
    Woohoo! 2500 words per day! You’re doing great!
    Thanks for sharing all those variations on the senses which looks very useful.
    I’m not sure that we can detect magnetic fields – it’s more that they could have some sort of effect on us. But that’s in this world. In other worlds, who knows? 🙂

    I, too, have been head down and have just finished the first draft of a short story. About to start HTRYN on it.

    Hang on in there, TPN. Keep writing and let us know occasionally where you’re at.

  2. When I am writing code or painting or whatever, I lose all sense of time. Someone interrupts me and I wonder where the last three or more hours went. As for magnetic fields, yep, believe that before the rest in the list.

    Also problem in Australia around the wind turbine farms. Either the noise or the magnets in each turbine is causing headaches and nausea in a few of the locals. The rest say it is all in their heads but one doctor is studying the problem.

    There is another sense (I call it sense) where I have no information to make me feel anything is wrong, but I sense something is wrong. Some call it a hunch or gut feeling. You can add that to the list.

    Also well done on the writing, and glad you are blogging again.

  3. Holey moley, Pencilneck! You’re kicking out some major word counts there. Good work.
    That was an interesting article, not just the senses part but also the kicking in the balls part, (good to know in case my characters get the urge to beat each other up) and the snot part was pretty funny too.
    It’s nice to see you’re still blogging once in a while.

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