What’s That Smell?

19 Apr

Hopefully, it isn’t the left overs you forgot about in the back of your fridge. But, then, maybe it is.

If one of your characters encountered the mold-growing-tofurky from last Thanksgiving, what would that do to them? Would the stench ruin their day? What if the hot new guy was coming over? Or worse, the hot new guy’s mother, the one your character agreed to cook for in order to win her over.

Elizabeth S. Craig tweeted today about using the sense of smell in your writing. The link she included led me to a post from Faith Hunter. In her post, Faith talked about the use of scent and smell in writing. She gives some excellent examples. This was my favorite:

“I pulled in scents, my nostrils widening. His boots smelled of horse manure, fresh. Local boy then, or one who had been in town long enough to find a mount. I smelled horse sweat and hay, a clean blend of scents. And cigar. It was the cigar that made me like him. The taint of steel, gun oil, and silver made me fall in love. Well, sorta. My Beast thought he was kinda cute, and maybe tough enough to be worthy of us. Yet there was a faint scent on the man, hidden beneath the surface smells, that made me wary.”

Does that pact a punch or what? You get a sense of the male character and insight into the female character that is describing him. What is it about the smell of the cigar that makes her like him? Perhaps her father smoked a cigar and so she is comforted by it. Maybe she flirted once with a good-looking man who puffed on a stogy. At this point, we don’t know but doesn’t it make you want to read more?


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