Smell is an important sense; one that can provoke vivid reactions and bring back memories which is exactly why you should use smell words in your writing! They’re probably the most underutilised description method in the writer’s toolkit, but they’re so important. We’re so used to smells that we often overlook them in day to day life unless they’re unusual or overly strong. But, when we do notice them, they’re impactful. They’re out of the ordinary and memorable. That is why smell words are such an intense feature to add to scenes that you want to emphasise. So, think for a moment:
What is your favourite smell?
Is it of a meal you love? The perfume of someone you miss? The earthiness of oncoming rain? Wood burning in a hot bonfire? Say it’s the smell of the city at night, the slight chill in the air, a swirling mix of petrol, cigarettes and alcohol. Which smells you can think of? What memories are they attached to and what feelings do they stir in you? List the smell words that describe them! Now, try and write a description for it (and don’t be afraid to share it with us!)
If you’re a member with The Writing Resource you can grab our sensory descriptions PDF below – it provides you with descriptive words you can use to paint the perfect picture using all five senses. This is a free PDF from our sensory descriptions campaign for members – you can sign up here for free! You can check out our posts on sight, sound, touch, and taste too!