Creative writing workshop with Helena Dahlgren – lesson 2

Welcome back to Helena Dahlgren’s journey through creative writing! The author of the Soul Riders trilogy is back for part two of her writing workshop, helping you unlock a range of secrets, tricks and tips so that you can level up your creative writing skills!

Lesson 2: Sensational Senses! Part one – smell

OK, so now you’ve had some time to think about the stories you love and what you are passionate about. Now, it’s time to start writing! When I write fiction, I try to involve all five senses. It makes the text pop and adds life and colour to the words. Today, I want to talk about smell. Smell is universal – and yet so very personal. Freshly cut grass, warm coffee, and even horse manure are a few smells that bring up memories and happy associations for me. I think about sunshine, calm mornings, and horses. And there’s a special kind of antiseptic smell – you know the one – that immediately makes me think I’m at a hospital, visiting my dad who was really sick a few years ago. He’s fine now, but that hospital smell, a strange mix of antiseptic and cafeteria food, still makes me all queasy. Smell, and the reactions to it, can be a powerful tool in your writing.

EXERCISE: Today, I want you to write about one pleasant smell and one unpleasant smell. No longer than, say, half a page (a little less and a little more is fine, too – whatever works for you). If you like, make a story out of it. Your protagonist, X, opens the door to an unknown place. They notice two different smells. One is a nice smell, the other one more unpleasant. What does X associate with the smells? What feelings and memories are brought up?

Is your character ready to take their first big sniff of the world you’re about to create?

Join Helena in the next lesson to take the next step or click here to return to lesson 1.