From Kate’s Writing Crate…
If you celebrate Christmas, what comes to mind when you read that word? Christmas trees? Fresh wreaths? Cookies for Santa? Candy canes? Not just the seasonal objects, but delicious aromas as well.
As a writer, I learned the aroma lesson early. On Christmas day when I was six, my one-year-younger sister received a book gift entitled The Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia Scarry and illustrated by J. P. Miller. Included in the story of Little Bear waiting for Christmas are six pages with scratch and sniff fragrance labels.
The text and illustrations depict a cozy, old-fashioned home where the Bear family prepares for the holiday on Christmas Eve. Little Bear starts the story with: “Something wonderful is going to happen…My nose tells me so.” Each reader’s nose does, too.
I borrowed that book without permission quite often. I just loved the combination of words and aromas. Father Bear and Little Bear went in search of a Christmas tree and I could smell the pine branches. Mother Bear baked a pie and I could smell the apples. I also loved that there was an orange in Little Bear’s stocking as we always had oranges in the toes of ours. However, the hot chocolate shared with the carolers was my favorite scent.
Aromas bring readers deeper into anything they are reading. That’s why it’s important to be specific—not just flowers, but roses; not just dinner, but roasted turkey with cornbread stuffing; not just dessert, but chocolate cake. Readers will add the thick swirls of frosting covering two layers on their own.
Aromas made this book truly memorable. They can make your writing memorable as well by simply adding “invisible scratch and sniff labels” whenever possible—a terrific writing tool.