Nancy's Books

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sensory Description: Smell/Calls for submissions

The sense of smell has a strong emotional pull. Certain scents linger in our minds for years. Thinking back to my childhood, I remember how a new doll smelled or the delectable whiff of Mom’s chocolate cake baking filled me with scrumptious anticipation. Decades later, all it takes is a fanciful thought about those aromas and I feel warm and cozy. When you write a description about the smell of a cake baking, the reader will be instantly transported back in time to his/her own memories of a sweet smelling kitchen. When readers connect the story to their own experiences, they make an emotional investment that draws them deeper into the plotline.

The sense of smell can also be used to get a character to remember a specific detail or to transition into a flashback. The smell of fresh-baked bread spreads a smile over our faces and one hint of a skunk spray has us running for cover, yelling puuuuuuuuu. Does your story take place on a farm? Let the reader smell the barn. Or the hay. Or the flowers.

Using smell in narrative scenes is a way to stir up emotion in characters and readers. Through our senses we encounter daily life, whether we enter a musty basement or breathe a honeysuckle-scented breeze. Create characters that reflect real life through descriptive language.

Call for submissions for adult writers:

· Gotham Writers’ Workshop has launched a “91-Word Memoir Writing Contest.” This contest “celebrates longtime Gotham student and friend Norma Crosier, who died in July five days shy of her 91st birthday….She embraced the principle of memoir – that it is not the story of the writer’s entire life, but rather one story among many.” Prizes: “The winner will receive a 10-week workshop, $91 cash, and bragging rights.”
Deadline: October 15, 2012.
Submission guidelines at
Call for submissions for young writers:

Cyberkids. To submit your work, email it to: In the email, tell us your name, age and country. If you are sending artwork, save the art in JPEG or TIFF format if possible, and attach it to the email. We do not pay for submissions, but if we use your work, we will send you an email telling you when it will be published.

Submission guidelines at

Check out more contests on my blog:

No comments:

Post a Comment