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Topic: Authors and descriptive smells

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Subject: Authors and descriptive smells
Date Posted: 3/15/2012 10:41 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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I realize that authors want to "take" you there when they set the scene, but I get very tired of hearing about how disgusting London or Paris smells.  It's not when they describe it once, or twice but when they yammer on and on about animal offal, human excrement, and the stench of the Thames.  Now to a modern nose no doubt these smells would knock us over.  But to people living in those conditions day after day I can only imagine that they were used to it and, it would have had to be really bad, to be commented upon.  Does anyone else notice that it seems that Stuart England was particularly smelly?

Date Posted: 3/15/2012 11:26 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,299
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Letty - I think that things were probably pretty smelly most of the time in all of the larger cities  during those periods. I remember trying to read The Great Stink and I  didn't come close to finishing it because I just didn't want to read even more of the descriptions of how bad everything smelled. That area had already been covered ad nauseum!!! Of course, what did I expect from the title? She went into great detail though -ugh. But that was life!! wink

Date Posted: 3/15/2012 11:41 AM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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I appreciate some mention of smells for setting a scene, but I don't want to be clubbed over the head with it.

Date Posted: 3/15/2012 6:23 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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If the character throws a hanky over his nose, that's enough for me. LOL!

Date Posted: 3/15/2012 10:23 PM ET
Member Since: 10/21/2010
Posts: 758
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I appreciate some mention of smells for setting a scene, but I don't want to be clubbed over the head with it.

yes

There's a big difference between setting the scene and being annoyingly, unnecessarily repetitive--especially when it involves something stinky!