Stocking Stuffers for Writers: Description

Jim the Photographer
Stocking Stuffers is a series for the busy writer/blogger this holiday season. 
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.

12 comments:

beck nicholas said...

LOVED this!
Never hurts to be reminded of this kind of stuff!
=)

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

Great advice! I love this stocking. Thanks! : )

Angela Felsted said...

Nice stocking stuffers.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Great advice as always. And so easy to remember when presented this way. :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love this! Believe it or not (and this is the HONEST truth), I spent hours and hours working through my MS last Friday using ALL of your sidebar thesauri. SOOOOOO helpful! :-)

Patti Struble said...

Becca,
What a great reminder. I'll take 2 please!!
Patti

Jan Markley said...

Love the stocking stuffer advice! Hope your stocking is stuffed with lots of writerly treats!

Becca Puglisi said...

So glad these tips are coming in useful!

Laura Pauling said...

Awesome. Before I clicked over I thought it was gift ideas for writers and my immediate thought was - time and amazon gift cards. :) Thanks for the great tips.

Carol Riggs said...

Ooo, yeah, excellent advice! I love making all the details "fit" each character or scene, in all its subtleties and different connotations.

AubrieAnne said...

These are great for just about any kind of writing. It's been great sprucing up these skills. :)

Girl Friday said...

Just wanted to say I love this blog :) SO MUCH brilliant stuff. Thank you.

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