We know time is in short supply, so each day leading to Christmas, we’ll offer 5 simple, smart tips on an important topic to writers, helping with craft enhancement, revision and social networking!
Today’s Stocking Stuffer: Honing your mad DESCRIPTION skillz:
1–Engage all five senses. It’s not just a dog. It’s a wheezing, drool-dripping, greasy-haired dog who has recently rolled in dead rat remains, the smell of which requires you to re-swallow that last bite of omelet you had for breakfast. Now that’s a dog.
2–Be consistent. Choose words that fit with your tone and describing character. A sad woman’s hairbrush is heavy, rough, and drags through her hair like sickly fingers. The same brush in the hands of a child? Glittery, prickly, and made in Santa’s workshop.
3–Make your descriptions do double (or triple) duty. A description of a room should not only tell about the room, but also about the person who lives there, or the history of the place, or what it’s residents are hiding, or how a visitor might perceive it, or whatever else will add to your scene.
4–Similes and metaphors. These comparisons can pack a descriptive punch if you remember some important tips: keep them simple, make them fitting (to the character, tone, time period, audience, etc.), and don’t overuse them.
5–Break it up. Don’t tempt boredom by including long paragraphs of description. Sprinkle in the details a bit at a time, through narrative, dialogue, dialogue beats, a character’s thoughts, etc.
Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling.