Is Your Writing Smelly Enough?

Using the senses in your writing, especially the sense of smell, really helps to take the reader into your story.  However, it’s just as easy  to be cliché with smells as with any other writing so choose carefully and be current.   For example, do today’s hospitals really smell of disinfectant and boiled cabbage? Maybe they do, but they smell of a lot of other things too. I asked my writing students to come up with something different. Here are the results.

Hospital smells

  • Antiseptic hand wash.
  • Floor polish.
  • The colognes of visiting relatives.
  • Stale air.
  • Mass produced food.
  • Body odour.
  • Fear.
  • Fresh air and rain on the clothes of visitors.

We did the same thing with beaches.

Beach smells

  • Donkeys .
  • Coconut suntan lotion.
  • Burger vans.
  • Fish and chips.
  • Candyfloss.
  • Cigarette smoke.
  • Diesel generators from fast food stalls.
  • Ozone.
  • Rotting seaweed.
  • Fresh air.
  • Smoke from Bbqs.

I have a post it note stuck over my desk.  Smells, touch, taste.  I tend to use the other senses anyway but it’s easy to forget these three, especially the sense of smell.

A rose by any other name!

A rose by any other name!

For more tips please check out my books on writing.

The Short Story Writer’s Toolshed

The Novel Writer’s Toolshed.

How to Write and Sell Short Stories.

Moving on From Short Story to Novel. 

I am also running a course in Bournemouth on Saturday 28 May – How to Write and Sell Short Stories. 10.00 am till 4.00 pm. £45.00. Please email me via this website if you’d like more details.

Happy writing!




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