The Scent of Words

March 6th, 2012

On Writing

The Scent of Heros

In March two of my sons celebrate birthdays, so the month is all about the boys,and their parties, junk food and cakes. Last Sunday when my oldest son turned seventeen, in the midst of the Doctor Who marathon, my mom brain went into sensory overload and I got stuck on one thought. “What happened to his wonderful, intoxicating baby smell and when did I say AXE Citrus smelled so great?” It struck me how, especially in a house full of boys, smell is high priority.

It’s a priority in my writing, too. I realized in every chapter or scene I write, I’m thinking about how to incorporate a scent or fragrance. It’s important and adds so much to a scene. Scents trigger memories and can deepen the emotional bond you’re establishing with your reader. I only figure this because, on the flip side, if a smell or odor is referred to in a story I’m reading and it reminds me of some deep stomach curdling memory, it’s the strawberry-scented Bonnie Bell kiss of death. Reading romances there is one word that kills the story–musky. For me, the story’s over no matter how hot the hero looks.

Coming up with fresh aromas and enticing scents for my heroes challenges me. I’ve used citrus-y, Old Spice, ginger sage and earthy way too much. So I’m always on a truffle-like hunt for new ways to describe with a scent that doesn’t refer to feral or pheromones…or musky…

Fiona’s quest to keep my real life ogres smelling sweet wafts into my fictional heroes and keeps my ol’ factory working. Ha!

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