Stocking Stuffers for Writers: DESCRIPTION

*This is a repost from last year. Happy Holidays! :)

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.


Natalie Aguirre said...

These are all great tips we should remember daily when we write. Thanks for reminding us.

Laura Pauling said...

Love you stocking stuffers every year! I've been reading even though techn. I'm on blog break!

April Plummer said...

Great, quick tips! I have a hard time remembering all 5 senses. And I'm learning to make sure the similes and metaphores are true to the character and situation (without being cliche)

Traci Kenworth said...

Thanks for the gift ideas!!

Heather said...

Best stalking stuffers ever! I love your idea of making descriptions do double duty, brilliant!

Angela Ackerman said...

Glad these help! Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! :)

Angela Brown said...

These are awesome tips. I try to also apply stocking stuffer #5 to paragraphs period. Visually, a long paragraph just isn't as appealing.

The Golden Eagle said...

Great writing tips!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Becca -

What a unique way to present writing tips! I'll be linking to this in January even though it's Christmas themed. :)


Martha Ramirez said...

VERY creative! Love it!

Carol Riggs said...

Excellent stuff! My next post is related to #4...I might have to change it now. :) These are all really important points. Thanks!

Angela Ackerman said...

Carol, lots of people struggle with similes and metaphors, so I say go for it! :)

I definitely overuse them sometimes, lol.