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« Week #143 - Smells Like Dome Spirit »
SA Prompt | SA Results
Date: 4-28-2015
Word Limit: 1250
Words Written: 24,121

Judges (crits):
*Dr. Kloctopussy
SurreptitiousMuffin
Grizzled Patriarch

Inspiration: This week, take time to stop and smell the roses. Or at least imagine how they smell. Or just read about how they might smell if they were combined with a bunch of other scents by a weird goth lady in her basement. Go on over to http://blackphoenixalchemylab.com, a fun indie perfumery. Pick one of their many scents. You will see that included in the description of nearly all their scents is a myth, or a poem, or an entire Thunderdome story. Find inspiration within the scent of your choice. Its name, description, what the scents themselves conjure up in your mind. I don't care. I'm sure as fuck not going to read the description of your scent when I read your story.

You don't have to tell us what your scent is. You can change your scent as many times as you like and as late in the week as you like. Don't post about it if you do (no one cares), just do it. More than one person can use the same scent. If you can't decide, as always, I will assign you one. You must ask by the sign up deadline, though.

Don't post the name of your scent in your story post (I mean, you can use the name of the scent in your story, or as the title, or whatever, but don't write like "My scent was XXXX, here is my story."

Guidance: A common bit of writing advice is "get into your character's head." Well, this week I want you to get into their body. This week's theme is "writing with all 5 senses." Too often, description is limited to sights. Occasionally a sound. Build the texture of your story by immersing yourself in the environment. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes, textures. Put yourself there, feel it all, then put it in your writing. In judging, I will take into consideration how effectively you have done this. Not how many senses include. Not how well you describe the immaculate scent of lavender on a summer's day. I know what lavender smells like. This isn't a contest on who can describe shit the best (hint: it's shitty).

DON'T YOU DARE JUST WRITE A BUNCH OF DESCRIPTIONS AND WORLD BUILDING AND EXPOSITION FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

Complete. Independent. Story.
Goals. Motivation. Conflict.
Characters. Plot. Setting.

Thinking about how characters would experience their world in all five senses is intended to benefit you, the writer. As people, we experience the world with all 5 senses all the time, though we often ignore the information. How can you use this information to enrich your story? How can it help bring your characters or setting alive? It should add to the story, not take over it. I'm not looking for stories that are about experiencing sensations. The story probably be about something else. But I want to see the benefits of immersing yourself in sensation. In my opinion, the most effective way to do this is to have your story mapped out, possibly even a first draft written, then go through it, be in it, and find the details that bring it alive. Details that matter.

For example, I have a bad habit of letting vegetables go bad in my fridge. And I feel really guilty about it and hate myself for not doing something I meant to do (cook and eat the vegetables). If you were writing a story about me feeling guilty about not doing something I really should have done, and cared about, maybe you would write a little foreshadowing scene at the beginning where I open the fridge and hate myself. A good way this could work is if, hypothetically, I was an alcoholic, and drinking is what kept me from doing something really important, so at the beginning, you would show me opening the fridge to get another beer. Let me tell you that half-spoiled cabbage has a very distinct smell, and that smell alone makes me feel guilty and ashamed. Sometimes I avoid opening the fridge just to avoid that smell -- and then I cook even less. It's a terrible circle of guilt. So that would be a good detail. A story that was just about how that smell makes me feel, not so good.

FORBIDDEN
1) No synesthesia. Be wary of writing about hallucinogens, too.
2) No erotica. I DID NOT MEAN "GET IN THEIR BODY" LIKE THAT. GROSS. NO.
3) No Fan Fiction! Many of the scents on BPAL are like the perfume version of Fan Fiction. You can pick any of those, it's totally fine. You can not write fan fiction. You can pick a Fraggle Rock scent. Do not write Fraggle Rock fan fiction. Even if it is not "pop culture," if it was created by someone else, writing in their world or with their characters counts as Fan Fiction. Do not write Alice in Wonderland fan fiction. Some of the Neil Gaiman stuff has archetypes like "Death." Writing about the archetype Death is okay. Writing about Neil Gaiman's goth girl Death, or anything that I think looks sufficiently like her, is NOT okay. If in doubt, write something more original.


22 Total Submissions, 9 Total Failures:
Dishonorable Mention
1
2
3
4
5
6
Loser
7
Dishonorable Mention
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
Honorable Mention
17
Honorable Mention
18
19
Winner
20
Honorable Mention
21
Honorable Mention
22