I’d like to welcome author Tracy Hewitt Meyer to The Bodice. You can check our her book, Wren’s Fantasy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and at Soul Mate Publishing. Without further ado, here’s Tracy!
Ever in search of a fresh, light, and subtle perfume to call my ‘signature scent’, I found myself at the local mall the other day. Perusing the brightly-lit counters in a major department store, my head spinning from the heady scents that hung in the air, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed. I didn’t want anything too strong, too light, too expensive, too cheap. I wanted a scent that evoked my personality. Can a perfume do all of that?
Then I couldn’t help but wonder, how do we, as writers, use scent in our stories? Scent can create memories, inspire love, lure others to us. It can reflect a heroine’s personality, much the same way I want my signature scent to reflect mine. I don’t wear spicy, heavy perfumes because that’s just not me. If your heroine is a red-headed, salsa-dancing man-killer, she might wear that kind of perfume.
Scent is just one more way that we define the character of our book. But if the reader can’t actually smell the scent we’re describing, can it work? When we read a book, usually the only smell is of the page we’re holding, or the remnants of dinner, or a lit candle. But our heroine must smell nice. We have to use words to ignite a physical reaction in our readers, where they can almost smell the heroine’s intoxicating scent floating right off the page.
What’s the trick to incorporating scent into a story? First of all, you must use a scent readers can identify with. You might like how swamp milkweed smells, but if a reader doesn’t know it actually has a nice fragrance, and most probably won’t, your heroine ends up smelling like something the cat dragged out of the dirty creek down the road.
Common scents are, of course, flowers:
The Duchess of Cambridge left a trail of gardenias in her wake as she walked down the aisle to marry her prince.
Common, well known herbs that are used in perfumes are
- ylang ylang.
Your heroine can also smell like vanilla and fresh air. Use your imagination! If you do use a scent that many might not have heard of, make sure you describe it with detail so rich, the reader feels like she is there in the room. How to describe a scent? Research that scent on the internet or at the library. Use the descriptions written to help shape your own take on it. It would be even better if you could find the source and take several sniffs yourself. Then form your own opinion.
So, did I find my signature scent? I did walk out the door with a small bag, a little glass bottle tucked inside. Only time will tell if it’s my signature fragrance or not. But I’m wearing it now as I type this blog and I have to tell you, it smells like wild flowers kissed by a new morn’s rays – warm, fresh, and slightly sweet.
I’d like to thank Meggan for hosting me today. I had a blast! Now tell us what your favorite scent is and have you ever used an unusual, atypical smell in your novels? If so, how did you describe it? If you’d like to see how I handle scent in my stories, please check out my website for more information. http://www.TracyHewittMeyer.com.
So, Bodiceites, Tracy has been generous enough to offer up a copy of her book, Wren’s Fantasy, to one lucky commenter. All you have to do is leave a comment with your favorite fantasy hero (books or movies). After all, we’re always looking to expand our reading lists here at The Bodice.
(And here’s a peek at Tracy’s book! It looks great!)