Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Forgotten Sense

A good writer knows judicious use of the five senses makes scenes pop. However, scent is the one that often conspicuously missing from prose, at least from mine.

Too much overwhelms, but careful placement brings worlds to life. So I've been eyeing spots in Before the Blood that might benefit from it.

John's Story, Chapter Three: Keys to Heaven

The meadows of sweet blooming cordgrass; the venerable oaks out yonder; the clumps of bracken; the occasional marsh; and the rocking of the open wagon under a torpid, afternoon sky: these all worked in unison to unravel the snarled mass of Manhattan impressions and replace them with clarity and serenity. He had stayed away too long.

Before Helsby could answer, Auntie Eleanor opened the back door, releasing an enticing aroma of summer savory, marjoram, and thyme. 

Even before John reached the parlor, he smelled the flowers: trillium, columbine, corydalis, and trumpet honeysuckle. He pushed the heavy door open and peered into the shrouded room, cold as a winter morning after the fire had gone out, and stinking like bad meat and perfume. 

Kellen's Story, Chapter Six: Angel of Demon

He'd smelled Joy on many a woman, but only Margaret could make it intoxicating and her own. 

He awakened to semi-darkness, the farm report, potato chip crumbs, and Margaret snoring with parted mouth and breath that could kill a village. 

Kellen's Story, Chapter Seven: Starting Fresh

Smothering the stale air was another scent, one Kellen knew well, but it wasn't coming from the man, and it wasn't exactly fresh.

Bryony's Story, Chapter Two: The Wages of Sin is Death

The cold lake air blew through the propped open window; the scent of fish and algae cut through the kerosene's acridity. 

Bryony's Story, Chapter Six: The Mysterious Miraculous Medical Bag

Bryony slid her spoon through the muck and slowly sipped it off. She was right about the salt. The broth was laced with it, and it burned her mouth and throat all the way down. Unsure if she liked it, Bryony tasted it again. It was briny like salt cod, but with a flavor hinting at pastures. It was quite unlike anything she'd eaten.

Bryony's Story, Chapter Three: The Dark Side of Progress

Overnight, the hard ground softened into marsh; and the withered grass now blossomed lush, green, and sparkling with crystal droplets. Leaning on the sill, Bryony appreciably sniffed the clean air, damp, muddy, and fresh after its midnight bath.

Henry's Story, Chapter One: Eating Cake

He heard the squalling as he neared the door. The woman next door, the fat old hag that smelled like yesterday's garlic, was wrapping something in a dirty blanket.

Henry's Story, Chapter Two: The Gypsy

Henry roused to the pungent sizzling of onions and old sausages, the halting plucking of a guitar, and the shadowy forms of his mother and sisters as they whisked away the mending and tidied the room for the evening meal.

Henry's Story, Chapter Three: Deadly Nightshade

The closed-up room reeked of human waste and menstrual blood, but at least the chamber pots got a good rinsing.

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