Friday, February 29, 2008

Garlic or Cloves.

I just learned a writing trick. Its one I'm certain I've been subjected to many times without ever noticing. And that's why it works.

Most books tell you over and over again what things look like. Very few ever describe a smell.

When you say something smells like steak cooking, everyone knows what you're talking about. They may not get the exact same thing as everyone else, but they get something.

I'll be using this. Probably sooner rather than later.

7 comments:

Right is Right said...

They say smell is the most closely linked sense to your memory...

Jeri said...

Huh... I would say it's hearing, music, more closely related to memory for me. But it makes sense.

Jeff Hentosz said...

(Not a fiction writer, just inordinately fascinated with the process, so some salt with your garlic and cloves): The advice I've seen in a lot of places is to use as many senses as you can on every page. Colors, sounds, smells, tastes and textures.

Like drop shadows in Photoshop, I don't think -- as long as the core of your story is solid and you're deft with your choices -- that you can overdo it.

Slightly OT: By coincidence, our friend Chang in Maine tells us today (it's still Friday until I go to bed, gawdammit) that his new puppy is nuts for garlic -- with video! Such cute video.

Tania said...

I'm with Jeff, especially on the texture/touch descriptors.

Michelle K said...

Jeri,

They've done studies, and smells can dredge up memories like nothing else.

It's pretty fascinating.

kimberly-ann said...

Speaking of smells..and tastes...Hey Nathan..are you a crispy Gingersnap lover, or a chewy one? (crispy on outside but softer in the center?)

Right is Right said...

Jeri, go into a department store and smell a fragrance from long ago that an only friend wore. I triggers pretty deep emotions.