A to Z Challenge 2013

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Odors

Okay, so odors may be an odd word choice when discussing writing, but it actually is something we need to think about.  I'm not trying to say that we need to describe how stinky the antagonist is;  rather I am saying that writing descriptive passages full of sensory imagery is a great way to fully immerse the reader in our worlds.

The sense of smell is often ignored, which is tragic.  Even if you don't have a strong sense of smell (I don't), there are certain universal smells that can be conveyed with just a few choice phrases.  Consider a passage describing the smell of burning popcorn.  There are very few people who don't know just how bad that smells.  And telling someone about it in detail creates an instantaneous reaction.  While this particular smell is usually something people would prefer to avoid, there is no doubt they could imagine standing there with that aroma and feeling repulsed.

How about a huge flowerbed full of roses?  A passage describing the aroma as a slight breeze flies across these fragrant stems is sure to evoke any number of emotions for the reader.  Whether they like the smell of roses or not, they'll see these flowers as realistically as if they were actually standing among them.  And then they're captivated by our world, eager to see what else unfolds.

When was the last time you described the smells in your world?

2 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Eric .. Odours - my spelling! They do bring us to the place at hand in real life, or can help us envisage a setting .... newly baked bread from an oven, or Aga, lazily wafting through the house .. inviting us to sit and relax - and then eat!

Have you ever read the book Perfume - I wrote a post on Pop Songs of Fragrance and Symphonies of Perfume ... the book is fascinating!

Cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Eric .. I did write about Perfumes (various), but never actually about the book - as it's a little 'strange' ...

Here's the Wiki link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfume_(novel)

Cheers Hilary