Sniffing to Satisfy: 3 Ways Your Nose Can Bring Pleasure – to Your Readers (Part 1)

    Sniffing to Satisfy
    Sniffing to Satisfy
    “Woman holding her nose…” © Tribalium.

    Welcome to the first post of my advice on ways you can improve your writing skill. If you’re a seasoned writer, then you understand well the importance of implementing details into your writing. Details draw readers into the story, placing them right in the middle of the action. Keeping details in mind is key when crafting a scene, conveying emotions, or even describing an orange. Readers want details. They need details; and not coincidentally, the best ones are found in the most memorable stories.

    Now, what if you’re just starting out? Well, aside from having the word “details” branded into your skull, you will also be told – until you are dead – that reading more will make you a better writer; and it really is true. You must read if you want to write well. If you don’t read much, then you’d better get started; and there’s no better time than the present.

    What’s that smell?

    The first thing you might consider when you think of a nose is its instinctive ability to detect different scents, some of which can make our mouths water while others can make us want to heave. From food, flowers, and perfumes to sewage and rotting animal carcasses, the human nose encounters a seemingly unlimited number of smells on any given day. If your story allows for it, including descriptions of different aromas can add depth to your plot.

    Consider someone’s first walk along the beach as an example. The salty surf crashes into the sand. She closes her eyes and tilts her head toward the sun, the breeze gently exposing her to the characteristic fragrances she never knew existed. The scent of freshly cooked seafood wafts through the air, and she moans as her mouth begins to salivate a little too much. Suddenly, the breeze shifts direction, and she’s overwhelmed by the unmistakable aroma of sunbathing tourists. Tanning oil, sunscreen, sweat, and – a very unpleasant body odor emanating from a big, hairy guy named Dick.

    This may not be a scene that would sell, but there you have it. Even if you’ve never been to the beach in your life, surely you can relate to something I wrote; and isn’t that the point? To relate to readers so they remember your story. (Dick really isn’t that bad of a guy.)

    Don’t muzzle that nuzzle!

    When presented with the word “nuzzle” your first thought may be of a dog. While it’s true that dogs nuzzle for various reasons, including dominance and respect, humans also nuzzle. Typically, this nuzzling occurs as a sign of affection toward a significant other and can be used as a starting point for – as Steve Urkel put it – “the horizontal polka.” If you haven’t guessed, this less common purpose of the nose can still be used to improve your writing skill.

    Think about a love scene. Certainly not my strong suit, but I’ll give it a shot. She stood with her back to him, her long wavy tresses falling gracefully down her back. As he approached her from behind, she turned to join him in a passionate embrace. Her auburn hair smelled like orange blossoms, and he relished her scent. She turned her face toward him and nuzzled his neck as she placed a trail of kisses leading upward and across his cheek to his eager lips…

    That’s not too horrible, right? For a love scene virgin, at least. Scent and nuzzling are both used here. Even if the smell of her hair was excluded, we can still clearly envision a nuzzle, further demonstrating the effective use of a nose in storytelling.

    What a honker!

    Noses come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and angles. No two noses are exactly the same. Why does it matter? The physical properties of a nose can have a dramatic effect on a person’s face and, in some cases, be a testament to their personality. During the character development stage of your writing, try describing a nose and see if you get anywhere. If nothing else, it could provide you an opportunity to break a spell of writer’s block.

    Let’s use the scene from the previous example; and because I’m so good with cheesy humor, prepare to roll your eyes and scoff. She stood with her back to him, her long wavy tresses falling gracefully down her back. As he approached her from behind, she turned; and her enormous snout struck him in the eye sending him stumbling backward and groaning in pain. She bowed her head in shame; but he quickly recovered and approached again, this time, dodging the honker and planting a kiss on her pouty lips.

    I won’t call this one an effective use of a nose; but it made an impression, nonetheless. (Was that a pun? I love puns.) Although this scene will most likely never find a home outside this post, it reveals yet another way a nose can influence the events in a story.

    Final Thoughts

    Sometimes, the smallest details can have the biggest impact. If you think about it, the scenes I described here could all be from the same story. Maybe the woman was overwhelmed by all of the scents on the beach because her huge nose actually possessed some weird superpower. Maybe Dick was the victim of the eye jab, and his noticeable body odor was what brought the two of them together. Probably not, but this still proves that if you analyze a paragraph or two from different angles, a plot can emerge; and, of course, it also proves that a nose can make a story.

    Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this post. You can read part two here.

    Candidly yours,

    Copyright © 2022-2024 Irene Bratton

    Plain-language Required Disclaimer:

    I am not a medical or legal professional. The information in this article is based solely on personal experience and my honest opinion. This article should not be considered either medical or legal advice, and may or may not be appropriate for your specific situation, the details of which are totally unknown to me.

    Accordingly, I cannot take responsibility for any adverse event which might occur if you choose to follow the advice given, in whole or in part, which you do at your own risk. Consider it “food for thought” rather than expert guidance.

    Please seek a qualified medical or legal practitioner for a professional assessment of your exact circumstances if your health, safety, and/or some other important aspect of your life is involved.

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