Scents and Sensibility


At a recent writer’s group, someone pointed out (not for the first time) that I don’t use all the senses in my writing. I omit smell. Since this isn’t the first time someone has noticed, I need to make a better effort of including all the senses in my writing. However, smell just isn’t a sense that jumps out at me. There are only a few times a day that I actually process that I’m smelling something, whereas I am constantly aware that I’m seeing or hearing or touching something. I don’t think I have a dulled sense of smell, I just don’t pay it much attention. Is that weird? Probably.

While I was contemplating smell as the ignored red-headed step-child of my senses, I became acutely aware of the use of touch in storytelling. On this blog, I have mentioned The Lizzie Bennet Diaries before. It’s a modernized Pride & Prejudice told through vlogs…and it’s genius. Go watch…and start from the beginning.

Now that you’re back:

Several episodes ago, Lizzie casually touched Darcy’s shoulder as she moved past him. It was not subtle and it sent the Lizzie-sphere a twitter. An episode or so later, Darcy touched back. The comments exploded.

I was trying to be cool, calm and collected, and analyze it: how did it work and why. But really I was fan-girling as much as the commenters. The touches were so simple, so small, but so deliberate (by the writers/actors) and so nonchalant (by the characters), it spoke volumes, harkening back the butterflies of first touches and first crushes everywhere.

Can smell evoke that same response in a story? Really?

What’s your Achilles sense?

The Bennet Sisters Enter the 2000s


I get really excited on Mondays. Weird, I know, but The Lizzie Bennet Diaries post a new vlog every Monday (and Thursday). If you’re a fan of web series, of fresh takes on classics, or of Pride and Prejudice, you should take a look at The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Now.

They’ve done a fantastic job. I almost wish I hadn’t heard of it until it was over…that way I could watch them all at once rather than a day at a time. But that shouldn’t stop you. Go now and join me in my new love of Mondays!

Masthead for the Lizzie Bennet Diaries YouTube channel with large-eyed cartoon portraits of Lizzie, Jane, Lydia and Charlotte

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, artwork by Naomi Gunadie