Posts Tagged ‘tips’ Archive

The Often Forgotten Sense of Smell

Of the five senses, I often find myself completely forgetting about smell. Isn’t it said that smell is very important in unlocking memories? How awesome is that – it’s a perfect way to lead into memories in your WIP.

The smell of lemon drops will forever remind me of my Grandmother (or is that Dumbledoor?? haha) and the smell of a new shampoo will always make me think of my sister. What smells conjure memories for you and how do you add this into your writing?

My MC has a very strong sense of smell. After getting my first pages back from my crit partners I realized I used the word smell, scent, sniff wayyy too many times and needed to figure out new ways to describe scent. So, without further ado, here are some tips for writing about the sense of smell. (Most of these are pared down from http://www.wikihow.com/Describe-a-Smell.)

  1. Are there images or memories associated with the smell? What is your gut reaction when you think of the smell? Feelings or emotions?
  2. Use adjectives- wispy, rancid, airy, musty, stale. Adjectives will describe the effect of the smell.
  3. Use nouns and be specific – is the smell of chocolate milk or dark, or is it the smell of hot fudge to be poured over ice cream? Or is it chocolate with a hint of raspberry? All of these scents will elicit different emotions from your reader and your MC.
  4. Use verbs – waft, distract, hint, permeate, suggest, confuse. Suggest the source: are you baking or frying? Sweating from a hard run or desire? Visualize what it does – creep into the nose, wrap around, follow, bombard.
  5. Borrow words from other senses: sight – bright, dark, clear, hazy; sound – dissonant, harmonious, loud, quiet; touch – sharp, dull, rough, smooth; taste – sweet, salty, bitter.
  6. What is the reaction to the smell? Do you relax, stiffen, pucker. Is it startling, jarring, soothing or comforting?
  7. And of course, the good old metaphor. The smell of hot dogs hit me like a tornado.

Are there any other tricks you like to use when writing about the sense of smell? What other senses do you find yourself forgetting to write about?

Heavy Legs are Better than Jelly Legs

I trail run.

Trail Running

Yup, that’s what I look like when I run trails, nice and smooth.  Totally kidding.  That’s Anton Krupicka – he is one of the better ultra runners out there.  Anton runs, on average, 14 miles in the morning and 6-8 at night, his week ranges from 180 miles to 200.  Crazy?  Yeah, I know.

And no, that’s not what I do, but do you want to know what the most crazy part is?  That’s what Cale wants to do.  Cale’s an ultra runner.

When I say I’m a trail runner, really, I just mean that I go to the trails with him and hike/run around while he’s doing his thing, putting in his miles.  I get some excersie and some awesome time to let my muse run around in my head, and he gets my support on the trails.  I figure it’s my way of saying thank you for putting up with the hours I spend writing.

If you’re interested in running trails, here are a few tips:

  1. Let your eyes fall a few feet in front of you and be prepared to put the brakes on.  It’s pretty typical for snakes to come slithering across the trail in front of you.
  2. Either know the trails really well, have a map or bring a compass.  Yes, it’s easy to get lost out there.
  3. Don’t expect running on trails to be like running on the road.  It is much, much more difficult, but oh so worth it.
  4. Have your hands ready for A) brushing away spider webs or B) for falling.
  5. Always leave a note or let someone know where you’re going.
  6. (This one is from Cale) Just do it.  The more you do it, the easier it will be.

Mostly, have fun, running trails and being around nature is incredible.  Yeah, you have to expect to walk up the hills, run the rest and yeah, sometimes you fall, or lose your shoes in mud puddles, but in the end, you feel like you’ve accomplished something, you feel free, apart of something much bigger, and that totally makes it worth it.