a good scents passage

I was out back, breathing in the smell of flowers -- wisteria, lilacs -- and caught some odd plant-or-dirt-based scent that took me straight back to the backyard of the house where I grew up, a place I haven't set foot in decades. Yeah, aroma and the memory of scent all pretty damned amazing...and I think nearly impossible to describe vividly with words.

Maybe Perfume does a good [wildly exaggerated, gruesome] job.

Can you think of a passage or a few words that brought at least the memory of a scent right back to you? Can you write one? This is when I feel like a romance writer. "light flowery scent" for the heroine? "clean musky scent" for the hero. Ho-goddamn-hum--and, hey, what about the musk? Someone once pointed out musk will gross out some readers. Doesn't gross me out. I like the way people smell. Stale sweat isn't always great, but a slightly unclean human? In bed? I love it. Umm 'shrooms. I think I'm more European than American when it comes to this body scent stuff.

Don't look at me like that...I don't mean cabbage soup garlic reeking body scent. Just a whiff...oh, never mind. Write something now.

Show me.

Can you describe something like a scent? Maybe one of these?
a leather glove ("Sniff the Glove--Tap's finest!"),
the radiator heating up for the first time in the late fall,
a baby who's just spit up breastmilk that hasn't gone sour yet,
a kitchen two hours after bacon and coffee have been wafting around,
the clean ozone scent of someone who's come in from outside in the middle of winter,
brake fluid on a person's hands.

Hmmm. Are those phrases enough? I doubt it.

I bet Beth could knock this one out of the park.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. (sorry, pal, I deleted that bcse I don't log in anymore when I write comments)

    I think I like ... "his clean, masculine scent." One thing I've noticed about romance novels is this: one SINGLE wrongly placed word can kill the entire novel (for me, anyway.)

    Especially regarding clothes - why are writers still putting men in tight jeans? Tight jeans are OUT, big time. If I read a book where the hero is wearing tight jeans, I assume he has a mullet, too. And the jeans are too short for him. And he's wearing white socks. And black runners. And his favourite band is Whitesnake. And he's just a general fool.

  3. I had a memory brought on my scent a few years ago when I was digging up a juniper bush in front of the house. At first it was just wet earth and pine and my own sweat. I really hate junipers and was dedicated to getting the well-rooted horror off my lawn.

    As I tried to pry the bush out, I unexpectedly hit a root from the camphor tree planted in the sidewalk patch. I chopped into the camphor root with my shovel tip to break it free from the juniper.

    With no warning whatsoever I was suddenly crying.

    The damp earth, mixed with camphor and sweat smelled just like my pony, Rosita. I had her when I was six and she was twenty-five. After I rode her, or rather, after she carefully toted me around on her back, ducking her shoulder here and there to keep me centered on her back as I was slipping off to the side, I would wash her down with a sea sponge dunked in Tuttle's Elexer Special Veterinary Liniment.

    I hadn't thought of her in years.

    And I never realized that Tuttle's had camphor in it.

    So I guess junipers do serve a purpose after all.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

what I'm talking about above--the letter in RWR

My Writing Day with an Unproductive Brain