Apr 16, 2012
O is for: olfactory
A while ago while we were trying to sell our first house, our realtor told us to bake some bread or cookies before an open house or a showing. The smell, she told us, would make potential buyers feel good and possibly help them remember our place.
At the time, we lived in the town where Malt-O-Meal is made. Depending on the factory's baking schedule, I'd walk outside and smell chocolate crispies or sugary flakes or (my favorite) chocolate chip cookies. I'd breathe in and taste cereal. To this day, every time I take a bite of one of their cereals, I remember what it was like to live there.
here for more info on the science behind smells.) A museum in York, England, now floods their Viking-era village with the scent of manure and rot so visitors are literally immersed in what life was like back then. Scents allow us to experience new things with all five of our senses.
My WIP right now is set in Alaska at a dog kennel of a young musher whose mother is running the Iditarod. The first time I ever watched the start of a dog mushing race, I was completely surprised by all the poop. I shouldn't have been - dogs poop, and a lot of them poop a lot - but my sanitized expectations didn't consider reality. Of course, it's cold out on a frozen, mostly snow covered lake where most races start so the smell isn't that strong unless you get really close to a team. (I won't go into how the musher smells after eight days on the trail with no showers...) I'm including those smells in this story because I want my readers to experience the same kind of visceral, gut reaction that my MC is having.
How do you integrate the olfactory in your writing?