Thursday, 20 June 2013

How to Write Description

Here is the post I promised earlier. I still haven't settled in properly at home yet; my boxes still crowd the hallway, and I haven't unpacked my hundreds of flowery summer dresses, but I seriously need to blog more (it's on my To Do list, don't worry).

Anyway, this post is all about description and how to write it creatively. I have a real problem with writing description, or setting the scene. I can see it in my head and so think everyone else can picture it too without going into much detail. Rookie mistake. I also think when writing description that it will distract from the plot; I am very much an action writer and love to get to all the exciting bits straight away. I have to slow myself down and force myself to write about the scene. Or sometimes I write all the action parts and then go back through and add the setting later.

I was thinking about this when I came up with a great idea on how to get the descriptive juices flowing. Stick with me here. This workshop comes in three easy steps.

1. Below is a series of pictures and I want you to write a 200 word description about each one.

You can write it from any Point of View, and in third, second, or first person.

Try to include each of the five senses; sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. Obviously, it might be hard to include them all. You might think how can I taste a place? Well, in the desert your character's mouth could be very dry, and that would say something about the setting. Don't go OTT as you only have 200 words.

Remember, the best description works with the action.
Don't write: There was an old wooden chair in the corner.
Do write: Ben eyed the spindly chair warily. It looked like it would collapse under the weight of a feather, let alone his hefty backside.

2. Think about a setting in your own novel, short-story, or flashfiction. Even if you're rubbish at art, I want you to draw out the scene. It can just be stick people, or it could be a masterpiece. Drawing a scene can help you to realise what's important in that setting - what's essential to include in your writing and what you can skim over. Now write another 200 words based on that drawing.

3. Give that drawing to a friend, preferably someone who also writes, or send it to me, and see what they write. They could pick up on something you wouldn't have thought of before, or make you realise something the reader will need to know about that place.

Its only a simple workshop but it should help when finally writing that novel.

Okay, ready? Here come the pictures...

They're quite varied, so have fun! I'll write about them too and draw my scene and post them in a couple of days. I hope this helps! 

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