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!