The Five Senses - #3: Smell

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Here we go, number three!


STOP! (Yeah, we're doing this again.)


What do you smell?

Me, I smell bacon frying in the pan. I also smell the scented lotion I used earlier. If I was outside, though, I'd probably smell the stinky trashcan.

Can you smell someone's cologne? Maybe their deodorant? Or maybe their B.O. if you can't smell either of those. Do you smell food? If you're outside, can you smell the grass? Is your animal nearby and stinking up the room like mine is?

This is probably the most unused sense in Wattpad stories that I've read. Yet it's important, because unlike sight and sound, we can't really go in a daze and tune out smell. Sure, you can plug your nose, but I doubt your character is plugging his/her nose all the time.

Once again, neither do we want you to overwhelm us with every single thing the character can smell. Only if it affects her.

Does the smell of bakery strudels make her hungry? Or does it make her sick because she's full?

Does the scent of a guys cologne turn her on? Or bring back old memories of a past boyfriend who wore the same cologne?

Does the stench of the garbage make her want to puke? Or....well, okay, I can't see why anyone would like it. But you never know.

How. And why.

Why is a big thing here too, because if you're having your character react, we need to know WHY. If she's turned off by the cologne, don't just say that. Explain. Why is she turned off? Otherwise we'll be left clueless and have no idea about our character.

Does she feel sick when she smells food? Well, why? Because she ate just thirty minutes ago. Well, then explain that. Even if we read the scene where she ate, remind us briefly. People forget, and they might think she's weird, or that she doesn't ever like food.

I'm not really sure of an effective way to insert smell without including how it affects the character, so I'd say avoid just inserting useless smells. (That doesn't seem grammatically correct.)

There's not much else to say on smell, since I think it's self explanatory. Just remember how you describe them, keep it interesting without being too complicated : Instead of the smell of bacon, it's the tempting aroma of greasy bacon.

And now I'm hungry.

CHALLENGE: Read through a chapter in your story and see if you have included any smells. Once again, if not, think about the location of your character. If they're in a locker room, it'd probably be stinky. (Reaction: Is he/she used to it? Disgusted by it? Likes it? Tolerates it?) If they're in a restaurant, it'd probably smell nice, like food. (Reaction: Does it make him/her feel sick? Hungry? Bored?) Make sure it corresponds with their mood in that chapter. If they're grumpy, they'd probably see everything as negative and would despise the stinky smell of the locker room. If they're happy, they might embrace it as familiar.

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