Monday, September 6, 2010
Describing this particular scent isn’t too hard. It’s light, flowery, and sweet—common adjectives we all know. Though they don’t tell you exactly how it smells, they’re enough to give you a good idea. But how do you describe an unusual scent, one you can’t associate with something well known?
Scents are strong memory triggers too. Think about them. The heavy, cloying scent of lilies. Do death and funerals come to mind? What about hot, milky tea and buttery toast? For me, that was an after school treat. Or tomato soup and cheese toast. Talcum?—my great grandmother. What are some of your scent memories?
Odors, smells, scents, fragrances—there are subtle differences, and all can be useful in evoking mood or triggering something.
Here’s a bit where I wanted a scent to alert my MC to something, point him in a direction. The scent, a slight tang with a hint of decay, tantalized him. Green. A green, growing fragrance contaminated by death. The concrete of the city surrounded him, the wrong place for such odors. Turning in a slow circle, Will sniffed, seeking the source.
How do you do it? Do you have a description you’re willing to share?