The Writing junkie: The Art of Description.

I have always valued detailed and creative descriptions in a story. I am just in awe with writers that are very good at picking the right words and the right moment to describe people, places and thoughts.

I’ve keep in my mind a time when I was journalism major at Butler University. The professor asked us to write a story with as much description as we can muster. I thought it was going to be a piece of cake for me. I began to write a little satirical piece that I was very proud of. When we were all done, we were asked to read our work aloud.

I eagerly read mine and I was proud of my description of the muddy waters of the lake as a pool of coffee colored water.

My professor looked at me and said:

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How would you describe this picture?

“Most often muddy waters are light tan colored. It would have been more accurate to say a pool of coffee with cream colored water.”

I was upset, but ever since that day I have been working on the way I describe things in a story.  I am impressed by those who can master it. I met a writer that I considered the master of description. Every time I read what he wrote, the emotions, the imagery can conjure so many emotions. That is what you want your description to do.

When I write I normally focus on things, flow placement and dialogue. When I edit I focus on refreshing dialogue grammar and description.

The description of the character of a scene or place cannot be rushed. I normally lay on the floor in silence and close my eyes for the notebook nearby. I let the scene play in my head and I pick up details of speech patterns, the smell of the room, the atmosphere, the taste of the food they are eating or whatever else I can find.

When I was done I would open my eyes, grab my notebook and describe everything I saw. I take description seriously and maybe I sometimes I take it too seriously. My daughter and my husband say I take forever to tell them a story. I include every detail and describe everything. I just might drive them crazy.

When I write I work on balancing how much description and detail I use. Too much can bore a reader and too little can leave them unable to see what you see.


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