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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Stop and smell the roses (Version 3)

These exercises were written by IWW members and administrators to provide structured practice opportunities for its members. You are welcome to use them for practice as well. Please mention that you found them at the Internet Writers Workshop (http://www.internetwritingwor kshop.org/).

Prepared by: Florence Cardinal
Posted on: September 28, 2003
Reposted on: August 14, 2005
Reposted, revised, on: December 31, 2006
Reposted on: April 27,  2008

Exercise:  In 400 words or less, write a scene showing your character's response
to a particular odor or scent.


Smells can frighten us, nauseate us, or bring back memories, pleasant or unpleasant.
They can repel or attract us--we turn away from rotten odors, while a sweet aroma
draws us near. A rose wouldn't be a rose without its familiar fragrance.

Suppose a woman steps onto a bus and chooses to sit next to a handsome man. When
she smells his strong body odor, is she likely to move somewhere else?  Or, does his
body odor brings back pleasant memories of a hard working husband?

Or, perhaps, he's recently bathed and is wearing her ex-boyfriend's favorite
after-shave. Would the memories the scent evokes be unpleasant, sad, or
bittersweet? How might his scent affect her response to him?

A clever man has seen the woman he's courting react with joy to bakery smells, so
on the way to her house for supper he buys a loaf of French bread fresh out of the
oven. Then, perhaps, when he walks through  her door he gets a whiff of his favorite
food simmering in her kitchen.

The scent of cigar smoke floating through the air might bring back the memory of a
special male relative or friend, or a haunting memory of something gone wrong.

Think of the many scents that tickle your nose during the day, either pleasant or not.
Choose one and build a scene that shows how a character reacts or thinks in
response to the smell.

Keep in mind that a typically pleasant smell might bring out a negative response in
your character because of past associations, just as a bad odor could be linked to
something positive in the mind of your character.


Exercise:  In 400 words or less, write a scene showing your character's response
to a particular odor or scent.


Critiquing suggestions:

Are you able to identify the character's response to the a particular odor or scent?

Does the writer present that response in a believable scenario?

Has the author managed to incorporate the sense of smell in a new and
unique way, something that rises above the typical or clichéd?

Web site created by Rhéal Nadeau and the administrators of the Internet Writing Workshop.
Modified by Gayle Surrette.