I try to remember to engage all five senses in my writing but for some reason I always struggle when it comes to describing how my hero smells. I have my stock favourites that I trot out but often feel I put them in just because I know I have to write something.
There's 'musk' which sounds uncomfortably close to musty and makes me think of moths. Or 'citrus' - a nice, safe scent and not too feminine. But I rarely stop to ask myself if I actually want my hero smelling of lemons. I just grab it and put it into my text so I can tick the hero smell box on my list!
With all the talk in forum and blogland about cliches I can't help thinking I've invented a new one - I write smell cliches.
So what does an alpha male smell of? Sweat? Engine oil? Or that old favourite - 'man'. Whenever I read that I want to ask 'But what does man smell of'???
I suspect the irresistible scent of an alpha is actually pheromones but as I don't know what a pheromone smells like I decided to google my husband's after-shave, a scent I particularly love. Its manufacturers describe it as having a deep amber note so I thought okay, I'll try amber but that just made me think about traffic lights :-) and the after-shave's other components were all too technical to ever be written into a sensuous scene.
So I'm left with "She inhaled his scent, it was a musky scent with a deep note of amber and the faintest overlying hint of citrus". Total and utter gobbledegook :-) Or, to be blunt, writing crap at its best.
Any writing advice gladly welcomed on this subject otherwise I run the risk that ALL my heroes are going to smell of an identical citrus scent :-)
P.S. I don't have a problem with my heroine's scent, it's just my hero!