I’ve been reading several books about children’s development, which makes sense since I have a 3 year old and a 3 month old. One of those books called attention to how adults and children may have different ideas about objects, with one reason being adults are much more likely to take in a visual aspect while children might be more inclined to taste or smell or touch or listen to it.
Actually, when you think about kids this just makes sense. Who knows what taste there might be on a pine cone? I bet a child would tell me. Probably also explains why so many parents are always screaming “Get that out of your MOUTH!”
But how does that translate into what we write? The majority of authors (especially in brick and mortar stores) are adults. We would then use a lot of visual description when we want it to be real to the readers.
I have a group of characters living on some far-off planet who don’t use their eyes. These nearly blind people can sense movement but not much else. It was such a difficult thing for me to describe things using their noses and ears as the primary senses and the visual as a distant fourth (behind touch). While I haven’t yet decided to have them put everything in their mouths to taste, I can’t promise anything about their futures.
What do you do to distinguish between characters? Do they all use their eyes as a primary sense?
I think if I were to catalog all the descriptive words in my current novel, most of them would be geared toward the visual. Makes me think I should look at that while rewriting. Yay! Just one more thing to edit and polish. I will finish it eventually, I swear. Though it might help to find less things I want to fix.
One thought on “About the Eyes”
In my sign language class in college, we had a project where we had to wear industrial ear plugs for an entire day and not speak. It was a challenge, but my best friend was in the class, too and we took turns being the “deaf one” so the other could interpret. Makes me think blindfolding yourself for a half an hour or so could be enlightening to get beyond the visual aspect. Force you to use and think about how the other senses interact.