Lindsey R. Loucks

Author of Romance and Other Scary Things

Rotten Apples in the Desk: I Smell Something Icky

German poet Friedrich Schiller kept rotten apples in his desk in hopes that the stench would trigger imagery while he wrote. Umm, ewww. I’m not sure that would work for me, but it worked for him, so there you go. He might have been onto something, though. Memories are hidden in our sense of smell. A certain men’s cologne makes me want to gag because of the boy I used to know who wore it. My BF’s normal everyday smell intoxicates me and makes me remember why I love him. Aw, shucks. I got a little mushy there.
Anyway, smell is one of those things that can make your characters come to life. Everyone smells like something, whether it be stinky feet, cinnamony, like dirt if they’ve been working in the garden, or like something curled up and died in their mouths. Yuck. Go ahead and sniff yourself right now. I give you permission. I smell like Dove soap and barbecue, just so you know.
Unrelated to smell, but just as important to make your characters come to life, are the sounds associated with them and how they feel to touch. Do their corduroy jeans swish together when they walk? Do their heals click-clack on the pavement? Is their skin ear lobe soft all over? Or do they feel gritty and slimy with dirt and sweat? If it’s the latter, it may be time for a shower. Just sayin’.
This post is meant to help sales of the awesome book Word Painting: A Guide to Write More Descriptively by Rebecca McClanahan. She breaks description writing down, big time. You should go buy this book. So, yeah, all of this rambling is thanks to Rebecca. Thanks Rebecca!
In other news, I might be doing final edits on The Grave Winner. I think it’s almost there. I think. I’m not doing Tram’s pov in it because I like Leigh too much and it would be too confusing anyway. I figured out a way to make it all tie together with little rewriting. Yay!
Also, Happy Memorial Day! Take a second to remember today’s not about an extra day off, beer, and barbecues. : )

Oh, and one more thing! I’ve been having trouble posting on people’s blogs lately, so if it feels like I’ve vanished, blame Blogger!


  1. Yay on final edits!! I’m rootin’ for ya! Though I love Tram, I think sticking with Leigh will work. Are you putting it back through the q or a few select passages at least? Curious crit partners want to know. 🙂

    I LOVE senses in writing. Here’s a few lines I’ve written on rewrite #287 of Serenya’s Song:

    While our foreheads rested together, I breathed in his scent—clean, masculine.

    Silky hair slid past my fingers, as it had the morning we made love.

    The strength in his arms was obvious, but tamed with a gentleness that made me pull him closer.

    The hard ground knocked the wind out of me when I fell from the saddle and rolled across the damp fallen leaves.

  2. I’ll probably put at least one chapter through the queue again. Awesome rewrite #287! I love it!

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