A Gentleman and a Rogue

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Writing Tip Tuesday - Descriptions & Drama


I thought I'd post a few of my thoughts about descriptions today since today is my writing tip day.

Descriptions are needed to paint our worlds on paper, but for the new writer, they may be hard to master. Some authors use too many descriptions and some don't use enough. Where can you find the balance?

Here's some tips:

Descriptions either tap into the five senses or they are metaphors.

For new writers, mastering the five senses should come first. An example would be: Her hair smelled like strawberries, fresh and vibrant. The meat tasted wooden and hard. The air had a sharp, punguent odor, like sulfur. Her lips brushed against his, light as a feather.

All of the above examples describe using a good economy of words.

Metaphors take a little bit more to master. They involve using "as" and "like." For example:

Her heart took flight like a hummingbird's wings. He ran through the aisle like a prized stallion.

The examples above use a good economy of words.

TIP: You never want to start your story with a paragraph of description. That will snooze the reader out of your world. Start with action and lace in sentences of descriptions that compliment the action.

For example: She ran hard and fast, avoiding the potholes in the dirt road. She hated running. Only now she was running for her life. It didn't help that the sun was out, beating through the canopy of trees making her sweat. She had to keep going or they would catch her and kill her.

Hope that helps. Remember:

Describe whatever it is using the five senses. (This is the easy one)
Describe whatever it is using metaphors (a little harder to master)
Use a good economy of words
Never open up a story with description.

NaNoWriMo Write on!
Steph

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