Thursday, 30 June 2011

Writing smells

Now that is a lovely ambiguous title...  But first I want to show you this:

I write like
Stephen King
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

Oh yes.  I write like Stephen King.  Who would have thunk?  You probably know about this by now, but I just found out.  And now I am scared witless.

Anyway.  Writing smells.  Not like stinks, just writing about odours.  Mal- or otherwise.

Yesterday the train I take from work home was VERY full (once again).  I was nearly squashed in a closing door.  The oily odour snuck up behind me to click its slick claws into the back of my jacket.  Luckily I escaped from uncertain death and managed to land under a Chinese Food Armpit.  I was saved only by a delicate whif of rose scented beauty.  A hidden beauty, a small thing.  Salvation.

Metal upon metal.  Grinding sparks.  Burnt air.  Crisp, intriguing smells.  These are real-life things.  Trying to write without smells is like trying to paint without seeing.  Lincoln Rhyme (from Jeffrey Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme series) would skewer any crime scene investigator who did not smell the crime scene.  That is, he would have if he wasn't a C4 quadriplegic.

Smells are what makes a story come alive.  If a story is well-written, you can do much more than see a character.  You can smell his fear, you can hear the grind of metal upon metal as the murderer pulls back the bolt on his gun.

Writing real is a difficult thing.  I am not pretending to do it right, or even do it at all.  I haven't written enough *smile*.  But I expect it from the authors whose books I read.  I want to be there.  I don't just want to read about it.

What pulls you into a story?  What makes it real?


  1. Well done for picking it up! All five the senses have to be drawn into writing, although people tend to forget about smell.


  2. Smell is actually a biggie for me. Certain smells can have me transported back to a time I'd maybe thought I;d forgotten and in an instance. They actually have a very strong recall thingy (Lost the word) about them. Great point!

  3. Smell is a big one for me.Looks like you are involving all the senses in your descriptions.

    As for what pulls me into the story, its descriptions and the emotions it evokes in me.