Goshen News, Goshen, IN


March 28, 2014

Stinking in the name of research

I’m sitting in the Concord Mall, reeking of men’s cologne.

No, I didn’t get ambush-spritzed by salespeople.

This was my own doing.

I decided to do a little research for a book character. Right now he’s named Jed and he needs to smell, uh, yummy. So what does that smell like?

Not versed in men’s cologne, I decided to find out for myself. My husband wouldn’t let me publicly sniff him in a mall while I sprayed cologne on him. I suppose that would be all sorts of weird, wouldn’t it? Fun but weird.

Instead, I used ribbons and cards.

I had friends and readers submit online their list of favorite colognes. Here they are: Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue, Acqua di Gio by Giorgio Armani, Pi by Givenchy, Paul Sebastian, Chanel Bleu, CK One by Calvin Klein, Chrome by Azzaro, Obsession and Drakkar Noir.

Now you know why I was at the mall. I had to stop in at Carson’s and see if they would let me go on a free smelling spree.

The super-accommodating sales lady did just that. She hunted up each of the colognes I requested, gave me a load of spritz cards and ribbons and left me alone. I sprayed and sniffed my way through each entry.

What I was looking for was a scent that would be a natural extension of Jed — nothing overpowering. I wanted subtle and masculine. The scent needed to make the ladies approach Jed and inhale deeper, not step back.

Light Blue


Acqua di Gio

The top two were Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue and Acqua di Gio by Giorgio Armani. Light Blue won because of its subtle citrus scent. So now Jed’s a Light Blue man.

Who would think that something as simple as scent would matter to a book character matters? But it does. When building a character, authors don’t want two dimensional. Readers want characters to come to life, to feel like they can reach out and touch them — or maybe even slap them.

To do that, senses need to be used.

Physical characteristics are important. Jed’s muscles rippled as his long legs carried him across the beach. His sand-colored hair stood straight up in the wind. His gray eyes had a lifeless look about them.

But move beyond describing the outside appearance.

How does Jed’s face feel when his brother punches him? Hard? Soft? Rough? Flaccid? Did his jowls wobble? Or did his brother’s fist get a rash from Jed’s wiry beard stubble?

This might be a little gross, but what does the character taste like? Jed could taste the sorrow on her lips. Or maybe he tasted the saltiness of her tears. Maybe he tasted her cherry chapstick on his lips. You get the picture — that’s the point.

Although you’re reading, sound plays an important part in character development. After all, the characters have a voice in your head.

Would Jed sound manly with a deep voice or a high voice? Higher tones are usually reserved for young, insecure or the whiny, sniveling type. I want Jed to be manly, so he’s going to channel Johnny Cash. Does he have a speech impediment? Does he stammer around cute girls? Or maybe Jed is the silent type, speaking only when necessary.

We’ve discussed scent. Jed reeked after a workout and had to take a quick shower. Or ... the woman obsessed with him, breaks into his home and he finds her sudsing it up in his shower with his Armani shower gel.

As the writer builds layer upon layer of subtle details, the character, in this case Jed, becomes more real for the reader. The details make us like or dislike Jed and the people in his life, they draw us near or push us away.

So the next time you dive into a book, pay attention to the detail being crafted by the author. What have you learned about the characters in the book and why do you feel the way you do about them?

And think about what the author might have done to get you there — maybe making herself stinky in a mall all in the name of research.

Text Only
  • gn140802 susan martin RELIGION BRIEFS GOSHEN St. Mark’s welcomes new pastor The congregation of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Goshen recently welcomed its new pastor, Susan Martin. Susan, her pastor husband Andy and their daughter Sarah moved to Goshen in late June. On July 1, Su

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Briefly ELKHARTBack-to-School Kids Celebration set for Friday, SaturdayBack-to-school will be celebrated with a fun and fashion weekend at the Concord Mall. The celebration will kick off with a twist reading and craft time Friday from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Mu

    July 31, 2014

  • GN140728 FAIR Presidents Baked Items multiberry crisp.jpg Multi-berry crisp claims fair president's award President Tim Yoder’s Baked Item this year was fruit crisp.Of the 20 entries, first place went to Sally Kyle of Goshen with her Multi-berry Crisp. FIRST PLACEMulti-berry CrispSally Kyle, Goshen1-1/2 cups flour3/4 cup brown sugar, packed1 stick cold b

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140728 FAIR Anything Goes with Cabbage.jpg May Beane wins Anything Goes with Cabbage May Beane of Elkhart won the Anything Goes with Locally Grown Cabbage contest, sponsored by Sweet Corn Charlie Produce, Wednesday at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.Twelve exhibitors entere 12 cabbage recipes.FIRST PLACEChicken Cabbage SaladMay Beane, El

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140728 FAIR blueberries.jpg Bread pudding takes Bursting with Blueberries prize Former Goshen resident and current Gainesville, Texas, resident Diana Julien Sims’ recipe for Blueberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Amaretto Cream Sauce won the Bursting with Blueberries top prize at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.The contest too

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Briefly GOSHENCripe reunion set for Aug. 16Anyone with an ancestor who was a Cripe is invited to attend the Cripe reunion Aug. 16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at West Goshen Church of the Brethren, 1200 Berkey Ave. in Goshen.At 10 a.m., speaker Jerry Cripe will giv

    July 28, 2014

  • stephanie price column sig WHOLE FAMILY: Adapting a pledge I can truly honor “I solemnly pledge myself … in the presence of this assembly to practice my profession faithfully. I will safeguard my clients and the public when health care and safety are at stake. I vow to adhere to the legal and ethical principles of the profess

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • THE NATURALIZED MID-AMERICAN: Master wood craftsman shows the inner beauty of trees I am still surprised by the beauty I see in these lengths of wood, and suppose I always will be. They are testament to the carefully-wrought, intricate, and deep craft of creation. They are testament to Don’s generous craftsmanship, too — for which I am very grateful — which was an expression of the joyful Craft that created him. He and those beautiful boards were cut from the same living tree.

    July 27, 2014

  • Briefly ELKHART‘Dog Daze of Summer’ Aug. 2The Pillars of Elkhart will host the fourth annual Dog Daze of SummerAug. 2 from 5 to 11 p.m. at the Civic Plaza in downtown Elkhart. Dog Daze will feature two local bands, High Gravity and MR Z Band. Hot Dog vendors

    July 27, 2014

  • GN140726 Queen Kaahumanu GLOBAL FAITHS: Hawaiians' conversion to Christianity helped women A recent trip to Hawaii to visit family drew my attention again to Hawaiian religion. Original Hawaiians are Polynesians who came to Hawaii from Tahiti, Samoa, Easter Island and other Pacific islands between 500 and 1300 A.D. These Hawaiians were polytheists who worshiped and built shrines to various nature deities. But on the big island of Hawaii they came to revere especially Pele, the fierce and violent goddess of volcanoes.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo


Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN

Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

I think early August is a good time to start
I think later in August would be a good time to start
I think school should start after Labor Day
     View Results