Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Overcoming a Challenge

First, I'd like to thank Rebecca Royce for asking me to guest post today while she is out of town. I'm honored to be in some great company here at Paranormal Romantics for today!

For every writer, there is always something that proves to be a challenge for them. No two writers are exactly the same and everyone will tell you they have their own ways to overcome those challenges. I heard someone once say "write with your five senses". When you think about it, that makes perfect sense - however, that's where my biggest writing challenge comes in.

See - I don't have five senses. Way, way back in my youth, I developed scarlet fever from a cold/sore throat. something happened during the time of the high fevers and the doctors believe my olfactory nerve was damaged. I suffer from what is known as anosmia. Meaning that I do not have a sense of smell.

Zip.

Needless to say, that presents quite a challenge as a writer because none of the characters I've developed have the same affliction. This is where research really, really comes into play. Because the illness was so long ago, I have no memory of what things smell like, so telling me "Oh, that perfume smells like roses." doesn't help because I have no idea what a rose smells like in the first place. So even comparisons don't help. I rely heavily on people around me to help when I need to have a character reference a scent in one of my books.

In my first book, Flash of Dark, there's a scene where the hero, tells the heroine what she smells like:

“Why? What do I smell like?”
He dipped forward, pulling in my scent again, but this time he did so gently and unhurried as he savored it. A sliver of hot, powerfully intense lust snaked down my spine and curled tight fingers through me. “Vanilla I scent immediately, but it’s mixed with something else. A flower that I can’t quite place that softens the scent of it.” I was silent as he inhaled again. “Narcissus and oranges,” he said finally, drawing in another breath. This one was different, as if he wasn’t trying to place the scent any longer. Now it was like he was making sure that the smells were ones he never forgot. “I’m never going to be able to eat an orange again and not want you.”

This was one of those instances where I had to draw on information from friends and family. I don't know what vanilla, narcissus or even oranges smell like. My husband does a wonderful job of comparing scents to tastes for me and hence why a lot of times, scents in my books are associated with taste. It's something most readers wouldn't be aware of and probably see it as a better way of detailing scents, but it's simply a necessity for me to understand it.

This is just one example of a challenge I face as a writer trying to tell a story to a reader. Anyone else have any challenges they have to overcome in their writing? It doesn't have to be anything as drastic as my example, but I'm sure we'd love to hear it!

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Sara Brookes
http://www.sarabrookes.net
https://twitter.com/sara_brookes

7 comments:

J Hali said...

Sara, welcome to PR. My challenge has come about recently--carpal tunnel. Hearing all the horror stories about surgery and the limited use afterwards--I'm leaving it alone, when it hurts--I read.

Your husband sounds awesome! Congrats on overcoming your challenge in such an inventive way.

Ella Drake said...

Your snippet is so wonderfully done, I never would have guessed that you had such a challenge to overcome.

Annie Nicholas said...

Welcome to PR Sara. What an interesting challenge you have overcome.
The only challenge I have to face is the lack of free time. My kingdom for a few free hours a day. :)

Alanna Coca said...

How interesting! I always heard that smell and taste were interconnected, and you couldn't have one without the other. I hope chocolate is still good for you!

Sandra Sookoo said...

Welcome to PR! I really do believe smell and taste are connected. My challenge? Wearing my heart on my sleeve. I'm trying to cover it up but I fear it's a hopeless cause LOL

Best of luck with your books!

Rebecca Royce said...

Thanks for blogging for me today Sara. You did an awesome job and it was such a relief to know that you were doing this today!

A million thanks!

Rebecca

Sara Brookes said...

@J Hali Ouch, I'm with you on hearing about horror stories for the surgery associated with carpal tunnel. It sounds like you've done a good job of compensating however - reading is always a plus. :^)

@Ella Thank you!

@Annie Funny, I find the same thing - I've always wanted the day to be long so I could find more time for things!

@Alanna From what I understand, taste & smell are connected. I always find that I tend to like very strong tastes. Ones that often time turn other people away. Chocolate is sweet to me, but probably not the same as to someone who can smell.

@Sandra Sometimes wearing your heart on your sleeve is a good thing, but I totally understand what you mean.

@Rebecca You're welcome - it was fun! Thanks again for asking me. :^)