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A couple of answers above have alluded to the nostalgia or emotion factors. Personally, I would recommend you focus on this more than trying to come up with lots of description. A lot of the time - to me at least - smell is inconsequential, unless it’s particularly strong or unpleasant, but every so often, I do find a smell has a very specific association ...


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If the author does not know what things smell like, then he/she can either borrow the descriptions from other sources, plagiarism out of scope for a moment, or turn the tables and make the narrator/characters not have the sense of smell. Everything else IMO is going to sound false. As to how not to plagiarize the smell's descriptions, I guess that there ...


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I really just have a couple of suggestions to add to the previous answers and it mostly builds on Guy Gordon's answer. There are many 'primary' smells (like primary colors) that are based off specific chemicals. These smells show up anywhere that the chemicals are present. Ammonia is a great example. I can't tell you what ammonia smells like, but anyone that ...


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TL;DR Focus on sight, hearing, and emotions. Don't worry about smell. I have been trained to engage the reader by applying the five senses, or as many of the five as is practical without becoming excessive. I disagree with your training. Good use of the senses can enhance a story, but they are not necessary to tell an enjoyable story. Don't try to cram ...


1

Keep it Specific. Here's why: The nose has thousands of specific odor receptors, not just a few general ones like 'sweet'. The receptor sites in the nose respond to molecular shapes and polarization. Two different chemicals almost never smell the same. Often, in chemical papers you see a note like 'the smell is distinctive'. Some have objected that this ...


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Smell is easily the most supernatural seeming of the five traditional senses. It is one of our oldest sense, older than hearing, vision, possibly even taste, and it is the only sense which works the same across most organisms regardless of size. The best way to think of smell if you don't have it is to think of it like how dogs and other animals seem to ...


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The dilema you face actually has a term, "Qualia," which is a linguistic inability to describe a sense stimuli. The UR question of "Qualia" is "Describe a color with out using any comparisons to things that have that color". It's so difficult that even some of our words for colors are taken from things that have the color as an attribute (in the English ...


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What can I do, beyond just using words like "good, bad, strong," or "sweet," words that carry over into other senses, to give readers an experience like they are there? Some great answers already given, but I just wanted to add a couple tidbits. First, even those who can smell fine often have a hard time describing smells. Smells are much more abstract than ...


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I once read that if one is writing about the life of a fast food worker, the reader needs to "smell the grease." I'd like to build on the sense of smell being strongly tied to memory. Smell can sometimes be a vital component of an experience. Once, in a scientific study I participated in, I had to sign a waiver warning me that the smell test could trigger ...


4

You don't always have to use smell in every scene; if you're doing it to highlight a person, place, or thing then you should do it there only, or you could describe it in other ways without the smell, or it might actually be interesting to just have your main POV character also not have this ability. I don't think I've ever heard a character have this. But ...


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You've most likely tried this already - but it's always a safe bet to talk to peers for their opinions on certain objects who can smell. In what I've read at least, describing how something smells isn't super important - usually readers look for how things appear, sound, or feel. But smell and taste are super connected so if you can taste things, you could ...


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Even for people who can smell, the sense is rarely precise enough to describe save by way of analogy. Someone particularly interested in cooking or food in general might train themselves to be able to pick out and recognize the specific elements making up a scent, but for the general population, if you're not simply saying directly what something smells of, ...


1

Maybe you could think of scents as colors to understand them? A strong smell of say, lemon, could represent the color yellow. Vibrant and energetic, sometimes even tickling up your nose like the sun. (I hear half of earth's population can look at bright light to trigger a sneeze - I'm one of them) If there's sugar mixed into it, I'd say the color would be ...


4

I often close my eyes and imagine myself holding an object I've never seen before. How does it feel? Is it heavy and smooth or hollow with skin like an orange? I do this because sometimes my characters have no idea what they're looking at. I find myself imagining what it smells like, too. And sometimes, if it's tech, I "listen for" the sounds it might ...


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What helps me describe something is feeling the shape out. In letting your emotions experience the object, as opposed to experiencing it from a retinal view, you provide a context for an individual experience, not a general one where the dodecagon, for example, is just a dodecagon. You’d see that something, although simple, is divine in the eye of the ...


3

You're not lying to the audience A third person limited narrator depicts the world as seen from the eyes of the current viewpoint character. Things that they don't perceive are omitted, and things that they misperceive are depicted as they understood events. That said, if you don't do a good job of establishing that your narrator is limited, then having ...


1

I think I get what you mean. I think your samples are simply too long. When you use a style like that you are going for impact. It needs to be sharp. You are making a statement. Singular. This is in contrast to normal where a paragraph is about a single topic and makes several related statements about it. With this style each statement should go into ...


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Sometimes the best way to describe something is poetic, sometimes the best way to describe something is prosaic. Some authors' natural voices are flowery, others have natural voices that are plain. Some scenes demand vivid imagery, others don't. What makes prose "purple" is when style calls attention to itself in a way that doesn't serve the material. If ...


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Let me try to answer what is "fan fiction feel" I think the biggest fan fiction feel is telling instead of showing. There are other great answers on this topic on the site, so I won't go into too much detail. All the statements you have are very specifically telling us what happen and how to feel about it. Any vestige of honor they might have had was ...


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I personally see nothing wrong with your example. It seems that you're being too critical of yourself for which I myself can be guilty of. You have to start putting things in perspective when it comes to your writing. And then, you'll realize that it's okay.


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You can look to the manga Hajime no Ippo for a case study on the subject... it is basically all about boxing matches which are described in great detail. Focus on the characters, and understand that boxing is not just two men (or women) punching each other. Every punch that you throw is an opening for your opponent, and it drains your energy a little bit ...


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