HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17

Thread: smell memory

  1. #1

    smell memory

    MT mentioned that smell memory thing.
    The taste of water through a garden hose.
    Suntan lotion
    army surplus pup tents
    old spice after shave
    the smell of a train station
    fresh cut lawn
    these are a few of my favorite things

  2. #2

    Re: smell memory

    Toby -- Smell memory -- the rotten potatoes odor of one of the indoor rides at Rye Beach amusement park in Westchester County, NY. The delectable aroma of burnt almond ice cream from Good Humor. The weird smell of the knock-out gas in the dentist's office.

    Writers often forget to employ odors in stories. I always try to use perfumes, the smell of various foods, the "taste" of the weather, etc. All little details, but those tiny items add up big time.


  3. #3
    M T

    Re: smell memory

    I agree, smell is important in a story and makes it come alive. Just as smell can bring a person back to a past experience whether bad or good. I remember a stange toy when I was a kid, it was kindof like pink bubblegum but not edible. It came with a small straw, you would pinch this pink gummy stuff around one end of the straw and blow into the other end, blowing up the pink stuff into a balloon. Then you eased the balloon off of the straw and pinched the opening closed. What a strange thing that was! I have no idea what it was called and haven't seen it for Years! But it had a certain smell to it. I can't remember the smell now, but every once in a while it comes back to me and I remember that toy.

    -- new inflatable beach toys in summer

    -- new shoes (especially children's shoes)

    -- the ocean

    -- cow manure (I'm a gardener so this is a good smell IMO)

    -- fresh baked buns (homey)

  4. #4
    Patricia Grant

    Re: smell memory

    Interesting to find this particular thread today. I had sent Chapter one of my book to a friend who wanted to read it. I had asked him for his honest reaction to it. Well, he replied back this morning and said that he loved it and couldn't wait for Chapter two...except for one small complaint.

    He said that there was no "smell" to my story. He commented that one thing that makes stories come alive to him is when they force you to use ALL of your senses to imagine the scene, including smell.

    I've already gone back and added a couple things in. For example, in the killer's house he has an art studio (he is an artist) just off the kitchen. So I describe the abrupt change in scent from the typical lingering kitchen odors to the smell of paint and thinner as he opens the door to the studio.

    I had never really thought about this before, but I see what a difference it can make.


  5. #5
    Craig Gosse

    Re: smell memory

    The sense of smell is one of the surest and most powerful triggers to the human memory, more likely to bring the memories to life than any other of the senses... and also, much more likely to trigger an *emotional* memory reaction, rather then an *intellectual* one. If you wanted to remember somebody's name, try to trigger memory via sound. If you want to remember how it felt to be five years old and experience a sense of wonder, go take a deep breath of the 'old swimming hole' you used to visit.

    These simple truisms of human reaction transend age, culture, or intelligence - and thus, are a vital touch-stone in writing, allowing any reader to place themself within the world your work has created.

  6. #6
    Kane X. Faucher

    Re: smell memory

    My favourite smells

    1. Failure
    2. Odour that follows whenever one of pomp has it viciously ripped from them
    3. cocaine
    4. being so horribly wrong
    5. frustration and despair
    6. the smell that accompanies a moral panic.

  7. #7
    Lindi Hobbs

    smell exercise: write as dialogue

    I thought I already shared this with you. It's a writing exercise: Write your 10 favourite smells AS DIALOGUE. Give it personality, and create a picture.

    1 - The scent of freshly rain-soaked earth tells me it's time to start thinking about gardening.

    2 - When it's bitter cold at twilight, and the sky is glowing with snow clouds, the pine scent of fireplaces lulls me toward home.

    3 - There's nothing more delicious than the scent of hot fries from a burger joint when I'm stuck in traffic and realize I'm hungry.

    4 - When I was a kid, mom smelled like lipstick, hairspray and perfume as she hugged us and headed out on a date, and I remember smelling that and thinking, "That's the smell of a beautiful lady."

    5 - I've always relished the downy feel and smell of a baby's head that entices my nose and lips in for a nuzzle.

    6 - Not everyone likes the smell of gasoline, but I like the way it makes the air wild and dangerous, like it's come alive and dares me sit up feel like maybe I'm a little dangerous too.

    7 - The summer fragrance of fresh cut lawns turns the air green.

    8 - It's hard to ignore the musty aroma of a quality suede leather jacket on a well-built man.

    9 - The gluey book-scent of old libraries always makes me feel smarter than I really am.

    10 - I can't resist the hot scent of electricity from my computer that says, "Today, you will write!"

  8. #8
    M T

    Re: smell exercise: write as dialogue

    1: The smell of glue always brings me back to childhood afternoons when my father called my sisters and me into the workroom to gather around a half-empty can. We sniffed exhultantly, running our fingers over the hardened yellow drips running down the sides, like blind children reading braille.

    2: As I walk through the devastation of a newly clearcut forest I take in the smell of Christmas that rises from all the severed stumps.

    3: The smell of percolating coffee recalls my childhood memory of Sunday afternoons when mom and dad stepped outside themselves to entertain a house full of unasked for guests.

    4: Sometimes she wanders through the toy section, sniffing furtively at the new plastic smell of barbies and baby dolls, pretending she is not a childless woman recalling her childhood, but a mother in search of just the right birthday gift.

    5: When the smell of manure assails my nostrils, I enjoy it in secret, even as I pretend to agree with the disgusted protests of my non gardener friends.

    6: The ripe smell of abandoned seaweed during low tide proclaims without apology, the fact that the ocean is not a polite pool but a briny, living soup.

    7: One sniff of an air mattress brings me back to childhood summer afternoons, floating on the surface of Osoyoos Lake, drugged by the sun as my hand drifted in the cool, blue water.

    8: The first day of school was a smorgasboard of smells, from the rubbery, oriental smell of new pink erasers to the cool, black smell of plastic buckle shoes.

    9: My mother came to my bed after the bazaar, her arms laden with purses for my sisters and me. Her coat smelled of the moon and the eternal night-time sky. I wondered if I would ever know how to reach her.

    10: As I bite into a freshly baked bun, it's warm, homey smell brings me back to my mother and her Saturday kitchen.

    I did it! Cool Lindi!

  9. #9
    Lindi Hobbs

    Re: smell exercise: write as dialogue

    OUCH! So good it HURTS! You have kicked my butt, MT -- you really are an excellent writer.

    Now, I must dash. To celebrate our Nation's Independence, we're watching an all-night Planet of the Apes marathon! Woo!

    Hugs to you ~ Lindi

  10. #10
    Kane X. Faucher

    Re: smell exercise: write as dialogue

    Planet of the Apes marathon??!?!! Neat!!! I wish I had that channel...

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts