I don’t know about you, but every time I smell cinnamon rolls in the oven, I am transported back to 1980’s. My thoughts drift to waking up on Sunday morning to the sweet smell of breakfast baking in the kitchen. My stomach growls. My mouth salivates, and I can almost hear my mother rustling the dishes.
What a great memory from my childhood.
Smell has a powerful effect on our memories, and to be a great writer you must harness the power of smell along with your other four senses.
Take at least 60 seconds and stare at this image. Put yourself in this setting. What three odors, scents, aromas, or fragrances do you smell in this picture?
What do you smell?
It’s hard to miss the flowering cherry trees. Their sweet blossoms waft a pleasant aroma into the air. But go deeper. Live the scene. What else can you smell?
An acrid tinge of smog undercuts the thick floral fragrance.
Or maybe a repulsive hint of body order lifts from the professional photographer as he pushes past in an attempt to get a few more photos before the sun ducks behind over the horizon?
Even the prettiest setting can have a dark side, or a dank scent.
The pungent scent of death emits from the motionless canal. The stench is reminiscent of those summer days spent at Beaver Lake fishing the man-made canals in hopes of landing a channel-cat. I never did catch one.
These smells are only a few of the many. Take another sixty-seconds and experience the picture.
What memories come back? And what else do you smell?
Leave your unique description of what you “smell” in the comments below. Make sure to take the time to always smell your setting, or storyworld and take care to describe it in an exceptionally engaging way.