I’m a habitual list maker. I make lists about everything. To do lists, shopping lists, lists of books I want to read, of place I want to visit, birthdays, everything that springs to mind. When I have a problem I want to resolve, I even make a list of all of the variables to draw the most logical conclusion devoid of emotional argument. It allows me to focus. Sometimes, I even make a list of random things I enjoy.
I’m curled up on the sofa and my cat has come in from the garden. She smells of wet fur and cut grass. I realised I love the way she she smells when she has a layer of rain on her black fur.
I have a chicken cooking in the kitchen which is going to be turned into some enchiladas, a treat for a friend at work. There is a basket of chocolate chip cookies on the table and although I’m on a diet, I desperately want to dive in. The smell of chocolate and brown sugar is heavenly.
If I think about it, I could make a list of a dozen of my favourite smells. On the whole, in writing, that sense tends to be overlooked. Description tends to be centred around the appearance of things.
Here’s my list:
1. Pomegranate perfume by Jo Malone
3. My cat’s fur (when it’s a little wet)
5. Fresh baked brownies
6. A tobacco shop
7. Fabric softener
8. Fresh cut grass
10. Burning wood (in a fireplace)
12. My friend Samantha’s hair when I give her a hug hello (must ask what shampoo she uses)
Try thinking about the smells you love the most and make a list. See if you can take a couple of them and draft a scene where they feature.
Writing Prompt: The List