In psychology, sensation is the first stage in the biochemical and neurologic events that begins with the impinging of a stimulus upon the receptor cells of a sensory organ, which then leads to perception, the mental state that is reflected in statements like "I see a uniformly blue wall." In other words, sensations are the first stages in the functioning of senses.
Sensation as a fiction-writing mode
Sensation is the fiction-writing mode
for portraying a character's perception of the senses. According to Ron Rozelle
, “. . .the success of your story or novel will depend on many things, but the most crucial is your ability to bring your reader into it. And that reader will be most completely in when you deliver the actual sensations of the many things that comprise your story” . As stated by Jessica Page Morrell
, “You breathe life into fiction by translating the senses onto the page, producing stories rooted in the physical world . . . that creates a tapestry, a galaxy of interwoven sensory ingredients.”
Also according to Rozelle, “The sensation of what something feels like is used to describe everything from sensual pleasure to pain and torture. It’s a wide range, and your readers have actually experienced only some of those feelings. So your job is to either make them recall exactly what it feels like when something occurs in your story or, if they haven’t experienced it, what it would feel like if they did” . Morrell describes a “sensory surround,” which when “coupled with drama tugs the reader into [the] story and forces him to keep reading.”
The importance of conveying sensation in fiction is widely accepted. However, recognition of sensation as a distinct fiction-writing mode is a matter of discussion.
- Morrell, Jessica Page (2006). Between the Lines: Master the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books. ISBN 978-1-58297-393-7.
- Rozelle, Ron (2005). Write Great Fiction: Description & Setting. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books. ISBN 1-58297-327-X.