The sense of touch can be used in writing to help draw readers into the scene. By describing physical sensations that most people will recognize from their own experience, we can help them to vicariously feel what the characters are feeling.
If there is a battle scene, we can describe the sensation of blood trickling down the hero’s side as he valiantly rescues the heroine from danger. Or a romantic kiss might send tingles of delight shivering through the lady even as she pushes the rogue away. The burning sand might shift between the toes of the castaway as he struggles up the beach toward the shelter of a grove of trees. Most readers can relate to the sensations of trickling blood, kisses, and hot sand. Personal experiences will enhance the imagery of the story.
The sense of touch can describe more than just the obvious things—like a handshake or a kiss. In the picture below, I sense the softness of rose petals, the sleekness of the silk suit, the warm texture of the velvet dress, and the smoothness of the manicured nails. Not all those details would be necessary or desirable in a story, but mentioning one or two in a scene might be useful.
Descriptive details, when used judiciously, can strengthen a story. Remember, though, that the amount of exposition can affect the story’s pace, and too much detail can slow it down. You’ll want to include enough sensory description to give readers a feel for what’s going on, but not bore them or bog down the story.
How can you use the sense of touch to develop characterization or setting? Don’t you wonder how someone can do dishes with such dainty-looking nails? (answer: she can’t, and is happy to have an excuse to let me do them instead)