I know, I know, the puns are getting a little threadbare. But continuing the conversation I started on Momming Monday (using scent to increase your productivity), I thought, why not carry it over to Worldbuilding Wednesday and do a post on using scent to increase your readers’ perceptions of your characters.
I think it’s because this week, I am in love with the scents of the holidays–things like baking, and snow, and cedars, and cranberries. Next week, I’m sure I’ll be so over it and so very ready to just humbug my way past another year of hyper-commercialization and needless stress about family togetherness while we all kabuki our way through the motions of what we’re supposed to do.
At any rate, how many of us have never forgotten what the people in our lives smell like? Or those defining events? There are studies that even suggest that we choose our mates at least partially based on how good they smell to us. Whether we notice it or not.
Our senses give us a dimensional awareness of others, and it’s almost criminal if we, as writers, didn’t also do our darndest to extend that dimensionality to the characters in our stories.
Scratch’n’ Sniff Stories?
Obviously, we can’t attach scratch and sniff pages to a book whenever we want our readers to enjoy the aromas. We need to use the words that evoke the reader’s own scent-memories.
What’s That Smell?
The real purpose behind evoking and inspiring all these memories isn’t to get our readers to remember or hunt down new and interesting smells–it’s to get them to remember and seek out new and interesting emotions and experiences with more than one of their senses for a more complete experience.