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?