Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Synesthesia is a neurological condition that causes people's senses to behave in unusual ways. If you've heard of it, you've probably heard wrong – but it is a fascinating phenomenon that is rarely detrimental and often somewhat enjoyable to those who experience it.

According to Wikipedia, synesthesia is commonly misrepresented in literature. I'm not surprised by that, as most high-profile conditions (neurological, mental and physical) get a clumsy handling in the world of fiction, and genuine portrayals are few and far between.

I'm working on the novel I started during NaNoWriMo (no, I didn't get to 50,000 words  not even close) and the plot that has been rolling off the top of my head includes a lot to do with synesthesia – both the real synesthesia, and a fictional related condition. The thing is, while I don't want the portrayal of real synesthesia to be seen as totally ignorant, I also want it to be somewhat whimsical and hyperbolic. This is mainly because I like a dash of whimsy in just about everything, but also because the character in question is highly intelligent and imaginative and exhibits a rarer, more curious form of synesthesia: ordinal linguistic personification.

Of course, NaNoWriMo is all about writing without editing as you go, and even though it's over I intend to continue in that spirit, so I'll address these concerns later. Hopefully I won't write myself into a hackish hole.

 


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