Does This Make Scents to You?
I’m a scent girl. Certain aromas bring back memories. Whenever I use my Bath & Body Works “Forever Sunshine” body wash, I am reminded of my trip to
and all the warm memories of that wonderful vacation come flooding back. The mixture of humid air filled with the intoxicating scent of grilling sweet onions warps me back to our local autumn Western Fair. Coconut scented sunscreen teleports me back 30+ years to our family weekend trips to Charleston, South Carolina Port Stanley beach. Scents are a very powerful thing. That is why I absolutely love when authors include scents in their stories.
I am a firm believer that a story’s setting can be a character unto itself. Accompanying that setting with a descriptive aroma can be very influential and compelling. The scent description doesn’t have to be pleasant, necessarily. Take Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Lord John and the Private Matter’ as an example. The setting is in
, the year is 1745, and the character isn’t quite sure where he is at the moment as he wanders the streets. Add this description to the setting: “Breathing somewhat easier in spite of the mephitis of dog turds and rotten cabbage that surrounded him, he set his steps eastward….” Okay, I admit that Diana Gabaldon is one of my idols because she is so gifted, but it’s sentences like this that escalate her stories to a higher level for the reader. Who can say that when they read her stories, they are not immediately whisked away to wherever in the world her characters are? London
Now let’s move on to more pleasant scents. Men. Oh, yes, I love when an author includes a description of not just what their protagonist looks like but also what he smells like. It’s another element to get lost in while admiring a hero. Sometimes the fragrance doesn’t even need to be a real scent. For instance, the drool-worthy Jack Cole in Shayla Black’s book ‘WickedTies’. He is described as smelling “like midnight and elemental male.” Sadly, you can’t buy a bottle of midnight from the perfume counter, but such a description makes you wish like hell you could.
Let me play fair. I truly love to read about the fresh scents of my beloved female characters too. We’ll turn our focus to Keely McKay in Lorelei James’ book ‘All Jacked Up. I can’t even think about Keely without remembering her lilac scent and what that redolence did to her guy, Jack. “Jack’s body stiffened too – for an entirely different reason. The sweet perfume of spring lilacs wafted toward him. Pure lust grabbed him by the short hairs.”