Saturday, April 14, 2012

Creative Nudge #8 - Smell

(I love the smell of coffee!)

Senses are what allow us to connect with the world around us, and with our own bodies. Lose just one of those sense and the world loses some of it's richness, and might even become very challenging, just think about what would happen if you permanently lost your sense of balance! As writers our goal is to create a rich environment for our readers, without drowning them in detail of course. One of the ways we can do that is by providing sensory descriptions.

Over the next few weeks I'm going to do a series of Creative Nudges based on the different senses. I'll start with the traditional five (smell, touch, hearing, sight, and taste) and move on to some that we all know about but don't hear as much in school, such as balance and temperature.

Did you know that the sens of smell is scientifically referred to as Olfaction? Or that an inability to smell is called Anosmia? Here's some other fun facts about the sense of smell - thanks to the Sense of Smell Institute. Who would of guessed such a thing even existed...?

  • A year later - people will still recall smells with 65% accuracy.
  • Most of the things that we smell fly "under the radar," that is, we aren't aware of them.
  • Our sense of smell is directional, which is probably why we have the expression "follow your nose."
  • The sense of smell is responsible for about 80% of what we taste.
  • The average human can smell 10,000 different scents. Dogs can smell about 20 times that.
  • Everybody perceives scent differently. So what I think smells fantastic you might think utterly stinks.
  • Every single person smells different, and this scent is always changing based on things like what we have eaten, our mood, and even the weather!

Scent also has a powerful impact on mood and memory, which is why it is used so commonly in aroma therapy, and why I think it is very important to include (when appropriate) in writing. When you include this sense in your writing you have created opportunities to evoke powerful connections in the minds of your reader, so don't forget to use it! 

The Creative Nudge
Theme: The Sense of Smell
Genre: Any
Other requirements: Try to make the sense of smell an integral part of whatever you are writing.

How it Works
Take a few minutes to write up a short story based on the prompt.
Post it on your blog.
Come back here and leave me a link in the comments so I can read it!
I'll post my own response on Tuesday.

Stuck? Here's a few ideas to get you started!

1. Describe your favorite scent and a memory it brings.
2. Kidnap, blindfold, and stuff ear plugs into your character's ears and have them guess where they are at based on the smell alone.
3. Describe a smell you hate.
4. Write a scene based on the inability to smell (be it a temporary thing or more permanent condition).
5. Put your character in a situation where they are assaulted by new smells.

And of course - have fun!

~ Ruthie ~

Ps. My first giveaway is coming on Monday - you don't want to miss it!

1 comment:

  1. I smelled something as an adult that took me way back in time to when I was a very young child. I could recall other facts as well--that it was white liquid on a spoon, and where I was.
    I have a cat who is deaf and this definitely affects our ability to relate to one another.

    sounds like a fun meme, Ruthie!