Make The Reader Smell Pancakes

by Kimberly A. Cook                (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

The tried and true advice to show and not tell a story also needs to include smell. Of all the five senses we writers use to convey thoughts, emotions and senses, the old nose is at the top of the list to help immerse readers into an intimate memory. The oldest of the five senses we humans have, a whiff of a lover’s perfume or the scent of a grandfather’s Old Spice cologne takes us right back to that place and time.

Short stack of fabulous blueberry pancakes at the Black Bear Diner in Redmond, Oregon

When restaurants advertise their scrumptious dishes with full color pictures of food, their marketing departments would give their right nostril to be able to include smell. These blueberry pancakes I had on vacation were divine and the picture doesn’t do them justice.

If I describe the wafting aroma of warm powdered sugar rising like newborn doughnuts from the pancake batter with warm blueberries filling the air, you want to jump in the plate.

Never miss a chance to use a smell to trigger a memory or a feeling for our readers. The simple details can tell the most about a mood an author wants to evoke.  Studies have been done on the allure of such things as pumpkin, vanilla and licorice to raise amorous notions among our species.

For my money, blueberry pancakes belong on that list too. Perhaps I need to do some more research. Bring on the blueberries!


Filed under Fiction Writing

2 responses to “Make The Reader Smell Pancakes

  1. A writer can’t miss with food smells. One of my favs is the whiff of mint toothpaste as a character closes in for a kiss, which then opens the door for the taste sense. FYI: I have added “blueberries” to my shopping list!

  2. Janet

    I can still smell (and taste) thebuckwheat pancakes for Dad and Mom made for us one Saturday morning after a sleep over!

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