One of the best things about being a writer is that our imaginations constantly seek out images, snippets of conversation, and tactile thrills. Anything that can be repackaged and cleverly peddled to the page is fair game. When it comes to writing fiction, the olfactory is often underutilized.
Sure, there’s always the delicate perfume of a rose or the lure of the hero’s musk. Descriptive scents add depth to a story… but sometimes they just STINK.
Last summer, I mentally logged a stranger’s reaction to dog funk as I opened my car door. Though the hound was at home, the stranger choked a little, then staggered when the upholstery odor assaulted his nostrils (or maybe it was a forgotten chew bone wedged under a seat?).
Note to self: always crack the windows.
Note to readers: my car usually smells much better.
Stink causes motional responses. So let’s give our characters more depth and humanity through stench. A cheap cigar. Sweaty gym socks. Burning hair on a curling iron. A misstep in a dog turd. Curdled milk!
So don’t just stop to smell the roses. Let’s make our writing stink! And please, let me know what scents get to you!
***Jamie Brazil is the author of Prince Charming, Inc. (Soul Mate Publishing, 2011). She enjoys both reading and writing stinky fiction! Excerpt: The mélange of squalor and desperation, mixed with the smell of chemical toilets and cotton candy, presented a fetid world to Elyse. She felt sick. With excitement. Under all the dust, noise, and stench were possibilities.