Where’s her perfume?

Rice_TheoryofMagic600Pat here:

I’m slowly realizing that it’s the little things that add up when writing. So much of my writing is intuitive that I don’t always understand what I’ve done until I go back and read the book. Take, for instance, my heroine’s perfume in THEORY OF MAGIC. I usually give my characters scents, and normally they’re just convenient additions to the sensory build-up of love scenes.

But in this case, I have a blind hero. So the heroine’s scent becomes a very important part of the book layering. If she’s not wearing it, he can’t know where she is unless he hears her voice or recognizes her footsteps. So he needs to notice if she’s not wearing it and wonder why.

In my April 25th release, CHEMISTRY OF MAGIC, the details aren’t as simple. For one, the hero is dying, presumably of consumption. But he’s not dead yet, so he’s very aware of everything his new wife does—from not touching the people she loves to her unusual attitude toward her maid. Since intellectual curiosity is his driving force (after making money), my heroine’s collection of peculiarities keeps distracting him from his work.RicePat_ChemistryofMagic_600x900

That kind of detail—as simple and silly as it sounds—adds the depth and texture that makes a story seem “real.” Yes, I love a fast-paced, witty, dialogue-filled book, but if the author gives me specific details in one place, I want them to continue in the background elsewhere. The hero can’t stop limping in the middle of the book. (Note to myself <G>) If he does stop limping—then there must be an extra layer to explain it, and as a reader, I’m eager to find out what it is.

I love the verisimilitude of historical details woven into a good historical as well. I just finished reading an  Andrea Penrose mystery, and she’s neatly added forensics, Regency style. She shows the state of chemistry and the types of microscopes available in the period, which gives the story a solid foundation and adds depth to the characters who use these newly emerging sciences. A book that had only dialogue and action would leave the reader with talking heads—a far less satisfactory experience, in my opinion (having just finished one like that).

Do you enjoy, or even notice, the small details that play out in the books you read?

 

125 thoughts on “Where’s her perfume?”

  1. If a book is well written I don’t often dwell on the details, but suspect that they do influence my awareness at a subliminal level. If there is a glaring error for example, particularly on topics where I have some expertise, it will jar and annoy me. So the detail is important for setting a scene and establishing a feeling of authenticity, but I only really notice when it is absent or contains errors.
    P.S.
    Pat, I think you owe me a book. My email to Mellissa Beverley on 15 Feb seems to have evaporated into the aether. I delayed buying ‘Magic in the stars’ expecting it to arrive by email!

    Reply
  2. If a book is well written I don’t often dwell on the details, but suspect that they do influence my awareness at a subliminal level. If there is a glaring error for example, particularly on topics where I have some expertise, it will jar and annoy me. So the detail is important for setting a scene and establishing a feeling of authenticity, but I only really notice when it is absent or contains errors.
    P.S.
    Pat, I think you owe me a book. My email to Mellissa Beverley on 15 Feb seems to have evaporated into the aether. I delayed buying ‘Magic in the stars’ expecting it to arrive by email!

    Reply
  3. If a book is well written I don’t often dwell on the details, but suspect that they do influence my awareness at a subliminal level. If there is a glaring error for example, particularly on topics where I have some expertise, it will jar and annoy me. So the detail is important for setting a scene and establishing a feeling of authenticity, but I only really notice when it is absent or contains errors.
    P.S.
    Pat, I think you owe me a book. My email to Mellissa Beverley on 15 Feb seems to have evaporated into the aether. I delayed buying ‘Magic in the stars’ expecting it to arrive by email!

    Reply
  4. If a book is well written I don’t often dwell on the details, but suspect that they do influence my awareness at a subliminal level. If there is a glaring error for example, particularly on topics where I have some expertise, it will jar and annoy me. So the detail is important for setting a scene and establishing a feeling of authenticity, but I only really notice when it is absent or contains errors.
    P.S.
    Pat, I think you owe me a book. My email to Mellissa Beverley on 15 Feb seems to have evaporated into the aether. I delayed buying ‘Magic in the stars’ expecting it to arrive by email!

    Reply
  5. If a book is well written I don’t often dwell on the details, but suspect that they do influence my awareness at a subliminal level. If there is a glaring error for example, particularly on topics where I have some expertise, it will jar and annoy me. So the detail is important for setting a scene and establishing a feeling of authenticity, but I only really notice when it is absent or contains errors.
    P.S.
    Pat, I think you owe me a book. My email to Mellissa Beverley on 15 Feb seems to have evaporated into the aether. I delayed buying ‘Magic in the stars’ expecting it to arrive by email!

    Reply
  6. Quantum, I’m so sorry! I usually respond immediately to Melissa’s email so I’m not sure what happened. I’ll see if I can find your address again and send it out at once!

    Reply
  7. Quantum, I’m so sorry! I usually respond immediately to Melissa’s email so I’m not sure what happened. I’ll see if I can find your address again and send it out at once!

    Reply
  8. Quantum, I’m so sorry! I usually respond immediately to Melissa’s email so I’m not sure what happened. I’ll see if I can find your address again and send it out at once!

    Reply
  9. Quantum, I’m so sorry! I usually respond immediately to Melissa’s email so I’m not sure what happened. I’ll see if I can find your address again and send it out at once!

    Reply
  10. Quantum, I’m so sorry! I usually respond immediately to Melissa’s email so I’m not sure what happened. I’ll see if I can find your address again and send it out at once!

    Reply
  11. I found your address and just sent an epub file. If you don’t receive it or if you can’t sideload a file, let me know, and I’ll try sending you a key to the downloadable one again.

    Reply
  12. I found your address and just sent an epub file. If you don’t receive it or if you can’t sideload a file, let me know, and I’ll try sending you a key to the downloadable one again.

    Reply
  13. I found your address and just sent an epub file. If you don’t receive it or if you can’t sideload a file, let me know, and I’ll try sending you a key to the downloadable one again.

    Reply
  14. I found your address and just sent an epub file. If you don’t receive it or if you can’t sideload a file, let me know, and I’ll try sending you a key to the downloadable one again.

    Reply
  15. I found your address and just sent an epub file. If you don’t receive it or if you can’t sideload a file, let me know, and I’ll try sending you a key to the downloadable one again.

    Reply
  16. I love the scene setting details, especially when they’re details about things—sensations, practicalities—that people at the time wouldn’t have commented on because they were so ordinary as to be unnoticeable.

    Reply
  17. I love the scene setting details, especially when they’re details about things—sensations, practicalities—that people at the time wouldn’t have commented on because they were so ordinary as to be unnoticeable.

    Reply
  18. I love the scene setting details, especially when they’re details about things—sensations, practicalities—that people at the time wouldn’t have commented on because they were so ordinary as to be unnoticeable.

    Reply
  19. I love the scene setting details, especially when they’re details about things—sensations, practicalities—that people at the time wouldn’t have commented on because they were so ordinary as to be unnoticeable.

    Reply
  20. I love the scene setting details, especially when they’re details about things—sensations, practicalities—that people at the time wouldn’t have commented on because they were so ordinary as to be unnoticeable.

    Reply
  21. Yes, subtle details make the book in many ways. I am a compulsive plot follower, I burn through a book to find out WHAT happens and HOW; end of book and I immediately go back to the front and reread the book*. This time i read, Now that the five-year-old is satisfied, i appreciate all those details you have mentioned. Many will stay with me for a long time. And I rejoice in meeting them when I return to the series much later for a satisfying series of rereads.
    *I do not feel that I HAVE read the book, until I have had this second go through. I learned years ago that it is quicker and easier to satisfy the five-year-old first. But I’m all grown up now. I want to savor the characters, the historical “trappings” and everything else that separates a good book from an animated outline.
    If I do not go back for the second read, then the book hasn’t grabbed me at all. I may keep it on my shelves awhile, but it isn’t truly in my “books that own me” shelves.

    Reply
  22. Yes, subtle details make the book in many ways. I am a compulsive plot follower, I burn through a book to find out WHAT happens and HOW; end of book and I immediately go back to the front and reread the book*. This time i read, Now that the five-year-old is satisfied, i appreciate all those details you have mentioned. Many will stay with me for a long time. And I rejoice in meeting them when I return to the series much later for a satisfying series of rereads.
    *I do not feel that I HAVE read the book, until I have had this second go through. I learned years ago that it is quicker and easier to satisfy the five-year-old first. But I’m all grown up now. I want to savor the characters, the historical “trappings” and everything else that separates a good book from an animated outline.
    If I do not go back for the second read, then the book hasn’t grabbed me at all. I may keep it on my shelves awhile, but it isn’t truly in my “books that own me” shelves.

    Reply
  23. Yes, subtle details make the book in many ways. I am a compulsive plot follower, I burn through a book to find out WHAT happens and HOW; end of book and I immediately go back to the front and reread the book*. This time i read, Now that the five-year-old is satisfied, i appreciate all those details you have mentioned. Many will stay with me for a long time. And I rejoice in meeting them when I return to the series much later for a satisfying series of rereads.
    *I do not feel that I HAVE read the book, until I have had this second go through. I learned years ago that it is quicker and easier to satisfy the five-year-old first. But I’m all grown up now. I want to savor the characters, the historical “trappings” and everything else that separates a good book from an animated outline.
    If I do not go back for the second read, then the book hasn’t grabbed me at all. I may keep it on my shelves awhile, but it isn’t truly in my “books that own me” shelves.

    Reply
  24. Yes, subtle details make the book in many ways. I am a compulsive plot follower, I burn through a book to find out WHAT happens and HOW; end of book and I immediately go back to the front and reread the book*. This time i read, Now that the five-year-old is satisfied, i appreciate all those details you have mentioned. Many will stay with me for a long time. And I rejoice in meeting them when I return to the series much later for a satisfying series of rereads.
    *I do not feel that I HAVE read the book, until I have had this second go through. I learned years ago that it is quicker and easier to satisfy the five-year-old first. But I’m all grown up now. I want to savor the characters, the historical “trappings” and everything else that separates a good book from an animated outline.
    If I do not go back for the second read, then the book hasn’t grabbed me at all. I may keep it on my shelves awhile, but it isn’t truly in my “books that own me” shelves.

    Reply
  25. Yes, subtle details make the book in many ways. I am a compulsive plot follower, I burn through a book to find out WHAT happens and HOW; end of book and I immediately go back to the front and reread the book*. This time i read, Now that the five-year-old is satisfied, i appreciate all those details you have mentioned. Many will stay with me for a long time. And I rejoice in meeting them when I return to the series much later for a satisfying series of rereads.
    *I do not feel that I HAVE read the book, until I have had this second go through. I learned years ago that it is quicker and easier to satisfy the five-year-old first. But I’m all grown up now. I want to savor the characters, the historical “trappings” and everything else that separates a good book from an animated outline.
    If I do not go back for the second read, then the book hasn’t grabbed me at all. I may keep it on my shelves awhile, but it isn’t truly in my “books that own me” shelves.

    Reply
  26. Yes. I like to notice things like that and halos they
    add to the storyline. If that character or that thing
    shows up in a connecting book it usuallly makes
    me smile and remember the other story.

    Reply
  27. Yes. I like to notice things like that and halos they
    add to the storyline. If that character or that thing
    shows up in a connecting book it usuallly makes
    me smile and remember the other story.

    Reply
  28. Yes. I like to notice things like that and halos they
    add to the storyline. If that character or that thing
    shows up in a connecting book it usuallly makes
    me smile and remember the other story.

    Reply
  29. Yes. I like to notice things like that and halos they
    add to the storyline. If that character or that thing
    shows up in a connecting book it usuallly makes
    me smile and remember the other story.

    Reply
  30. Yes. I like to notice things like that and halos they
    add to the storyline. If that character or that thing
    shows up in a connecting book it usuallly makes
    me smile and remember the other story.

    Reply
  31. Little details like scents and sounds, period language and manners, appropriate dress and decor references (no bloomers need apply ), etc., give me enjoyment as well as respect for the author’s talent. Why write a historical, or any novel, if you can’t make the reader feel at home in the story?

    Reply
  32. Little details like scents and sounds, period language and manners, appropriate dress and decor references (no bloomers need apply ), etc., give me enjoyment as well as respect for the author’s talent. Why write a historical, or any novel, if you can’t make the reader feel at home in the story?

    Reply
  33. Little details like scents and sounds, period language and manners, appropriate dress and decor references (no bloomers need apply ), etc., give me enjoyment as well as respect for the author’s talent. Why write a historical, or any novel, if you can’t make the reader feel at home in the story?

    Reply
  34. Little details like scents and sounds, period language and manners, appropriate dress and decor references (no bloomers need apply ), etc., give me enjoyment as well as respect for the author’s talent. Why write a historical, or any novel, if you can’t make the reader feel at home in the story?

    Reply
  35. Little details like scents and sounds, period language and manners, appropriate dress and decor references (no bloomers need apply ), etc., give me enjoyment as well as respect for the author’s talent. Why write a historical, or any novel, if you can’t make the reader feel at home in the story?

    Reply
  36. From ‘Magic in the Stars’:
    A damp draft wafted a light floral fragrance around him, stunning him into near paralysis. After the noxious odors of his brothers and the moldering manor, their mysterious visitor was literally like a breath of fresh spring air
    That little detail definitely caught my attention. I think that the humorous language resonates between reader and detail making it a delight to read ….. would appreciate plenty more details like that!!

    Reply
  37. From ‘Magic in the Stars’:
    A damp draft wafted a light floral fragrance around him, stunning him into near paralysis. After the noxious odors of his brothers and the moldering manor, their mysterious visitor was literally like a breath of fresh spring air
    That little detail definitely caught my attention. I think that the humorous language resonates between reader and detail making it a delight to read ….. would appreciate plenty more details like that!!

    Reply
  38. From ‘Magic in the Stars’:
    A damp draft wafted a light floral fragrance around him, stunning him into near paralysis. After the noxious odors of his brothers and the moldering manor, their mysterious visitor was literally like a breath of fresh spring air
    That little detail definitely caught my attention. I think that the humorous language resonates between reader and detail making it a delight to read ….. would appreciate plenty more details like that!!

    Reply
  39. From ‘Magic in the Stars’:
    A damp draft wafted a light floral fragrance around him, stunning him into near paralysis. After the noxious odors of his brothers and the moldering manor, their mysterious visitor was literally like a breath of fresh spring air
    That little detail definitely caught my attention. I think that the humorous language resonates between reader and detail making it a delight to read ….. would appreciate plenty more details like that!!

    Reply
  40. From ‘Magic in the Stars’:
    A damp draft wafted a light floral fragrance around him, stunning him into near paralysis. After the noxious odors of his brothers and the moldering manor, their mysterious visitor was literally like a breath of fresh spring air
    That little detail definitely caught my attention. I think that the humorous language resonates between reader and detail making it a delight to read ….. would appreciate plenty more details like that!!

    Reply
  41. Beaming. As I said, it’s not always easy. There’s a fine line between too much and amusing. Heroes who smell of sulfur or heroines who live in musty manors better have a lot of other good qualities. 😉

    Reply
  42. Beaming. As I said, it’s not always easy. There’s a fine line between too much and amusing. Heroes who smell of sulfur or heroines who live in musty manors better have a lot of other good qualities. 😉

    Reply
  43. Beaming. As I said, it’s not always easy. There’s a fine line between too much and amusing. Heroes who smell of sulfur or heroines who live in musty manors better have a lot of other good qualities. 😉

    Reply
  44. Beaming. As I said, it’s not always easy. There’s a fine line between too much and amusing. Heroes who smell of sulfur or heroines who live in musty manors better have a lot of other good qualities. 😉

    Reply
  45. Beaming. As I said, it’s not always easy. There’s a fine line between too much and amusing. Heroes who smell of sulfur or heroines who live in musty manors better have a lot of other good qualities. 😉

    Reply
  46. I do notice certain details. For instance, as a gardener, if the author has certain flowers blooming during a completely wrong time of year, I immediately notice it. By the way, your books covers are lovely. I like that there is a bit of darkness and mystery to them. I am getting a bit tired of the ones with the heroine in a giant pastel dress.

    Reply
  47. I do notice certain details. For instance, as a gardener, if the author has certain flowers blooming during a completely wrong time of year, I immediately notice it. By the way, your books covers are lovely. I like that there is a bit of darkness and mystery to them. I am getting a bit tired of the ones with the heroine in a giant pastel dress.

    Reply
  48. I do notice certain details. For instance, as a gardener, if the author has certain flowers blooming during a completely wrong time of year, I immediately notice it. By the way, your books covers are lovely. I like that there is a bit of darkness and mystery to them. I am getting a bit tired of the ones with the heroine in a giant pastel dress.

    Reply
  49. I do notice certain details. For instance, as a gardener, if the author has certain flowers blooming during a completely wrong time of year, I immediately notice it. By the way, your books covers are lovely. I like that there is a bit of darkness and mystery to them. I am getting a bit tired of the ones with the heroine in a giant pastel dress.

    Reply
  50. I do notice certain details. For instance, as a gardener, if the author has certain flowers blooming during a completely wrong time of year, I immediately notice it. By the way, your books covers are lovely. I like that there is a bit of darkness and mystery to them. I am getting a bit tired of the ones with the heroine in a giant pastel dress.

    Reply
  51. As a gardener, I, too, notice flower detail. But I don’t know English weather/gardens as well as American, and even there, different areas have different plants. It’s a minefield for non-gardening authors!
    Thank you on the covers! My downfall is preferring distinctive and original when readers often want the same. I don’t write pastel heroines. 😉

    Reply
  52. As a gardener, I, too, notice flower detail. But I don’t know English weather/gardens as well as American, and even there, different areas have different plants. It’s a minefield for non-gardening authors!
    Thank you on the covers! My downfall is preferring distinctive and original when readers often want the same. I don’t write pastel heroines. 😉

    Reply
  53. As a gardener, I, too, notice flower detail. But I don’t know English weather/gardens as well as American, and even there, different areas have different plants. It’s a minefield for non-gardening authors!
    Thank you on the covers! My downfall is preferring distinctive and original when readers often want the same. I don’t write pastel heroines. 😉

    Reply
  54. As a gardener, I, too, notice flower detail. But I don’t know English weather/gardens as well as American, and even there, different areas have different plants. It’s a minefield for non-gardening authors!
    Thank you on the covers! My downfall is preferring distinctive and original when readers often want the same. I don’t write pastel heroines. 😉

    Reply
  55. As a gardener, I, too, notice flower detail. But I don’t know English weather/gardens as well as American, and even there, different areas have different plants. It’s a minefield for non-gardening authors!
    Thank you on the covers! My downfall is preferring distinctive and original when readers often want the same. I don’t write pastel heroines. 😉

    Reply
  56. There was a song, “Little Things Mean A Lot.” And in books, it is the same. The fabric and texture is improved by details. One of the things I like about your magical stories is the fact that the details create a picture for me. I like the way I become immersed in the stories because of things like a scent.

    Reply
  57. There was a song, “Little Things Mean A Lot.” And in books, it is the same. The fabric and texture is improved by details. One of the things I like about your magical stories is the fact that the details create a picture for me. I like the way I become immersed in the stories because of things like a scent.

    Reply
  58. There was a song, “Little Things Mean A Lot.” And in books, it is the same. The fabric and texture is improved by details. One of the things I like about your magical stories is the fact that the details create a picture for me. I like the way I become immersed in the stories because of things like a scent.

    Reply
  59. There was a song, “Little Things Mean A Lot.” And in books, it is the same. The fabric and texture is improved by details. One of the things I like about your magical stories is the fact that the details create a picture for me. I like the way I become immersed in the stories because of things like a scent.

    Reply
  60. There was a song, “Little Things Mean A Lot.” And in books, it is the same. The fabric and texture is improved by details. One of the things I like about your magical stories is the fact that the details create a picture for me. I like the way I become immersed in the stories because of things like a scent.

    Reply
  61. I read an awful lot of historical fiction and I LOVE all the little details of the time. This is how I learn and I especially like details that show you what century you’re in and even what place. Can’t get enough of it!!

    Reply
  62. I read an awful lot of historical fiction and I LOVE all the little details of the time. This is how I learn and I especially like details that show you what century you’re in and even what place. Can’t get enough of it!!

    Reply
  63. I read an awful lot of historical fiction and I LOVE all the little details of the time. This is how I learn and I especially like details that show you what century you’re in and even what place. Can’t get enough of it!!

    Reply
  64. I read an awful lot of historical fiction and I LOVE all the little details of the time. This is how I learn and I especially like details that show you what century you’re in and even what place. Can’t get enough of it!!

    Reply
  65. I read an awful lot of historical fiction and I LOVE all the little details of the time. This is how I learn and I especially like details that show you what century you’re in and even what place. Can’t get enough of it!!

    Reply
  66. For me it is the details which make the story alive and vibrant – whether accurate historical description or detail about surroundings, or of the characters- such as that about perfume which you mentioned.

    Reply
  67. For me it is the details which make the story alive and vibrant – whether accurate historical description or detail about surroundings, or of the characters- such as that about perfume which you mentioned.

    Reply
  68. For me it is the details which make the story alive and vibrant – whether accurate historical description or detail about surroundings, or of the characters- such as that about perfume which you mentioned.

    Reply
  69. For me it is the details which make the story alive and vibrant – whether accurate historical description or detail about surroundings, or of the characters- such as that about perfume which you mentioned.

    Reply
  70. For me it is the details which make the story alive and vibrant – whether accurate historical description or detail about surroundings, or of the characters- such as that about perfume which you mentioned.

    Reply

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