Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thursday's Children - What does inspiration smell like?

I think that everyone knows that scents are capable of evoking strong emotional memories. Fresh baked bread, lilacs, oranges and cloves, incense, peonies - I have strong scent associations with all of those things. Hell, even the smell of fresh cut hay and cow manure bring out the nostalgia in me since I spent a lot of my childhood summers on working dairy and sustenance farms.

As beginner writers, we're often reminded to utilize all of the senses in order to more effectively bring our stories to life for our readers. In a lot of books that I read, I've noticed that scent is probably the most neglected of the senses. It's an important one, though. Its inclusion adds a subtle depth to scenes, helping to anchor the reader more firmly in the realities of the stories we read and write.

I'm a big proponent of aromatherapy, and I even use it while writing. In addition to using specific music to set the mood, I also use scents - either perfume oils or scented candles. Yes, I know the candle thing sounds like a giant cliché, but the scents really do help put me in the right frame of mind to get down to work. They also help with description to more effectively and evocatively describe the scene - especially since I can't always drop everything and head to the lake shore or the the woods!

 And if you're in the market for some inspiring scents, may I recommend, The Mindful Mushroom?

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11 comments:

  1. LOL — very interesting. I'm a big fan of using scents in my descriptions (rotten fish breath, anyone????), but never thought of using it to inspire me.

    Hmmmm.... definitely something to think about and try over the holidays!

    Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. Mmmmm...nothing says "urp" like rotten fish breath! :D

      If you try it, I hope it works for you! :)

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  2. It's a MAJOR part of my first book, UNQUIET SOULS. I think scent is extremely powerful, and as you said, often overlooked both in writing and by the general public. Good post :)

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    1. That's awesome! And I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I love that title, Unquiet Souls. Makes me think of that old song The Unquiet Grave. :)

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  3. That actually sounds like an awesome idea. And I always have candles lit in my house. I'll have to check out that site. :)

    Also, are you aware your Captcha is on? It makes it much harder for people to leave a comment--and it's really easy to turn off. I forget how, but i just Googled it and it only took a minute. Anyway, just thought I'd give you the heads up in case you didn't know. :)

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    1. Eeep! I didn't - thank you, Tamara and John! :) I'm not terribly blogger savvy, but I *think* I've got it turned off now. :)

      And Tamara, I've been super happy with Melissa's products. She's also a lovely person. :)

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  4. I am the same way with scents, certain ones just automatically transport me back to my childhood; especially a hint of salt water in the air.

    Anyway, I am now officially on a quest to find the perfect scent that smells like the beach in Michigan. I'm certain that will help get me in the right mood, especially when I combine it with my beach sounds.

    Thanks for the suggestion!

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    1. Melissa does custom scents... ;) She's made a couple for me that I lurrve.

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  5. So true. I love scents and perfumes. I always associate certain characters with certain scents. My heroes tend to be woodsy and earthy whereas my heroines are usually more incense or exotic spices. And for times when I'm stressed, nothing is better than mint!

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    1. When I'm stressed, I always go straight for the vanilla and cloves. There's been a lot of vanilla and cloves going on lately - lol!

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