Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Care And Feeding Of Your Descriptions

Did you have fun describing your piece of furniture?

A good description of things and people gives your reader what he/she needs, so that they can picture in their mind exactly what you are talking about.  With that picture, they can feel as if they are part of the story.

The job of describing falls to you, as the creator of what you’re writing.  If you’re writing fiction, you are creating a time/world that your characters interact.  That world must be described as well as possible, otherwise you risk losing the reader along the way.

If you are writing nonfiction, descriptions are just as important.  Unless your nonfiction work is loaded with photographs, drawings, charts, etc., your job is to describe things as detailed as you can.  You have to include interaction descriptions, possible reactions, things used in what you’re describing…the list is endless.

But, again, I can’t express to you how important a good description can be in your writing.

Action needs description just as much as objects.  Here’s an excerpt from Mama Told Me Not To Come for an example…Louie is in the boxing match for the World Championship:

            Louie feinted with a right, then followed through with a piston-like hard punch to the face with his left.  The champ ducked slightly, so he didn’t receive the full effect of the punch, but it still shook Pyle to the core of his being.  When Louie followed through with a hard right to the stomach, Pyle knew he was about to lose his championship belt.  Pyle bent slightly from the stomach punch, but Louie didn’t let up.  He punched the same spot on Pyle’s stomach with his left.  Pyle hunched over even lower.  Louie reached back with his right arm, and hit the side of Pyle’s face with everything he had, just as he had hit Mike Swanson last week.  The punch actually lifted Pyle off of the floor of the ring, spun him around, and flung him into the ropes.  Slowly he slipped from the ropes onto the floor of the ring for a count of ten.”
                        Excerpt Copyright 2010 by T. M. Bilderback

Can you picture the action in your mind?  Remember, this is from the book that one reviewer only gave a 1-star rating on Amazon, saying that it read like a movie script.  The insult that actually was a compliment!  I love it!

That’s how your descriptions should read:  step by step.

Keep reading!

Michael  (T. M.)

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