Thursday, December 5, 2013

Can You Give Us A Description?

Can you give a good description?

The difference between a general description and a deep, detailed description can be huge, and I bet you’ve never really thought about it.

A general description, unless it’s really necessary for the sake of story, sometimes can suffice, but a good detailed description is always better.

I’ll give you two examples, using our “Apple Person”.  I’m naming my “Apple Person” Sharon, just to brighten the day of one of my closest friends.

The first example, in my case, could be used maybe in a short story, and would be brief and to the point, unless it was to be a major plot point:

            “Sharon took a plate and a knife to the table, sliced an apple, and ate the apple as a quick snack.”

Very short, and to the point.  The descriptive sentence tells you who the person is, and what the person did.  The only thing it leaves out is which plate, what knife, what kind of apple, and how the apple tasted.

The second example fills out the first example a little bit.  I might use this in a novel, so that the reader can see and taste in their mind.  Read what I mean:

            “Sharon stood in front of the kitchen cabinet, and finally chose a bright yellow ceramic salad plate.  She reached to the cutlery block and took out her sharpest paring knife.  She placed both on the small kitchen table.  From a clear glass bowl on the table, she chose a large Fuji apple, and took it to the sink.  She rinsed the apple thoroughly, dried it with a paper towel, and placed it on the plate.
            Sharon lifted the paring knife, and sliced through the apple’s firm skin, drawing the knife through the apple, until it struck the plate below.  She now had a small, bite-sized morsel, and she popped the apple slice into her mouth.
            The tangy flavor of the apple pleased her taste buds immediately.  Juice from the apple combined with the firm, crisp texture of the fruit.  Before she knew it, she had chewed the tasty morsel and swallowed it, and wanted more.  She quickly sliced another morsel, and another, until all that remained of the ripened fruit was the core.
            Her hunger pang satisfied, Sharon stood, and carried the plate and paring knife to the sink.  She would wash them up later.”

See the difference?  In the first example, you have only a brief idea of Sharon enjoying a snack.

In the second example, you have a much more descriptive example of a few minutes in your character’s life.  It makes a difference, doesn’t it?

Now, your turn.  Good luck.

Keep reading!

Michael  (T. M.)

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