Think of Your Editing This Way by Diana Flegal
November 15, 2017
Entering Thanksgiving with Praise Linda S. Glaz
November 20, 2017
Show all

Writing the “Smell” Sense: 5 Senses

I don’t know about you, but every time I smell cinnamon rolls in the oven, I am transported back to 1980’s. My thoughts drift to waking up on Sunday morning to the sweet smell of breakfast baking in the kitchen. My stomach growls. My mouth salivates, and I can almost hear my mother rustling the dishes.

What a great memory from my childhood.

Smell has a powerful effect on our memories, and to be a great writer you must harness the power of smell along with your other four senses.

Take at least 60 seconds and stare at this image. Put yourself in this setting. What three odors, scents, aromas, or fragrances do you smell in this picture?

What do you smell?

It’s hard to miss the flowering cherry trees. Their sweet blossoms waft a pleasant aroma into the air. But go deeper. Live the scene. What else can you smell?

An acrid tinge of smog undercuts the thick floral fragrance.

Or maybe a repulsive hint of body order lifts from the professional photographer as he pushes past in an attempt to get a few more photos before the sun ducks behind over the horizon?

Even the prettiest setting can have a dark side, or a dank scent.

The pungent scent of death emits from the motionless canal. The stench is reminiscent of those summer days spent at Beaver Lake fishing the man-made canals in hopes of landing a channel-cat. I never did catch one.

These smells are only a few of the many. Take another sixty-seconds and experience the picture.

What memories come back? And what else do you smell?

Leave your unique description of what you “smell” in the comments below. Make sure to take the time to always smell your setting, or storyworld and take care to describe it in an exceptionally engaging way.

1 Comment

  1. Karen Condit says:

    I remember reading that our sense of smell is our strongest sense when it comes to evoking memories. More than sight, sound or touch! When I test that out, it seems that other senses bring to mind many things from the past, but the smells I remember take me deeper, to the heart of the memory. Smells are hard to forget, whereas sights and sounds may seem a bit fuzzy and more illusive after time. OK . . now for the picture . . .

    The pungent exhaust from the passing bus scarred the scent of the perfumed blossoms trying to take over. What should have been a stroll through an apple rain turned out to be a hurried walk through clouds of acid fumes and smokey haze.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *