Oh, good! You found us! Did you follow the aroma of the ginger cookies? Have one, and there's some spiced cider on the stove. I thought of holding the Write Stuff Workshops in the old library, but one room was musty and the other had the tang of Pine Sol. Besides, this setting is cozier. Don't you love the pine cones sizzling in the fireplace? Get comfy and we'll start.
Once, when we were selling our house, the Realtor told me the first thing people notice is how a place smells. He suggested having a package of Rhodes frozen rolls on hand. Whenever he called, I popped one in the oven to fill the kitchen with the aroma of fresh baked bread. Instinctively folks felt warm and welcome, happy memories triggered by the scent.
Writing for all five senses makes a scene come alive. I wrote this paragraph for a family history called Bagley Beginnings.
Plague victims were hauled outside the walls of the city like garbage, heaped next to piles of spoiled cabbages, and sheep carcasses. Small brown pigs (that had started off pink) were rutting around a stagnant pond, while men took barrels from the back of a cart and sloshed lumpy contents into the putrid slime. Unwashed clothes clung to their sweaty bodies, and they exhaled breath of rotting teeth and garlic chewed to ward off the disease.
This is an example of show don't tell. With vivid words, readers can tour the setting for themselves, which is much more fun than hearing a narrator tell about his trip to medieval England. Wouldn't you rather visit than just hear about it?
An odor can be pleasing or repulsive. What are some words that evoke familiar smells for you? I'll start the list: week-old gym socks, a dead skunk, pink Baby Magic lotion.
Now it's your turn: In your writing, remember The nose knows. And please leave something smelly in a comment!