At least for me, synaesthetic responses only work in one direction
(and I've heard this is true for others as well). Various stimuli
(tastes, sounds, smells, emotions, people) map to a
shape/color/texture, but the same mappings don't work in reverse
(colors don't trigger smells, for example).

However, for me the smell of grease triggers a lime green color, and
when I'm presented with a very vivid compound stimuli that doesn't
match, it can be...weird.

For example, in case you've seen the movie The Soloist, there's a
scene where the title character is listening to a symphony, and the
shot cuts to an amalgamation of vivid, moving lights, which presumably
is how the character experienced the symphony. I wasn't able to watch
more than the first few seconds of the scene, though, because the
colors were all wrong--they didn't match my triggered response for the
song at all, and seeing them both at once was horribly dissonant. Like
gears locking and grinding on each other. Not fun.

So in the room you describe, with a very pronounced yellow-orange
coloration but a green smell, I'd probably be very uncomfortable. I
might end up squinting, shying away from yellow things, or even
shutting my eyes whenever possible

You also may want to consider what type of synaesthete your character
is--what kinds of stimuli trigger synaesthetic responses, and what
sense-type responses do they stimulate? Is the character an associator
type, or a projector type?

If a projector type, your character may physically manifest a response
to the room. For example, I don't often project the texture components
of my responses, but I had to disconnect the phone in my dorm room
this year because every time it went off, it felt like a barrage of
papercuts down my right clavicle. So if your synaesthete is a
projector type with tactile responses, you might try something like


On Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 4:35 AM, Peter Bleackley
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I've got a scene in the book I'm writing (the one which Khangažyagon will be
> part of) in which a character goes into a large room lit by firelight and
> tallow candles. The light is dim, fickery, and yellow-orange in colour.
> There's a lot of greasy smoke about. The character is a synasaesthete. What
> might he experience? I know there are no right or wrong answers, but I'd
> like some ideas. Whether or not it's true that we're all born synaesthetes,
> I have not retained the ability on a conscious level.
> Pete