August 17th, 2011

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Writing Excuses 6.11: Making Your Descriptions Do More Than One Thing

Writing Excuses 6.11: Making Your Descriptions Do More Than One Thing

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2011/08/14/writing-excuses-6-11-making-your-descriptions-do-more-than-one-thing/

Key points: Make your descriptions release information about character or plot, too. Mood, emotion, characterization. Pay attention to word choice. Be economical with words. Watch for unintentional gaffes and gorilla in the phone booth phrases. Don't be purple! Evoke character. What does this description do to advance the story? Use description to imply the setting, not hit your reader over the head with it.
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[Brandon] Okay. Let's do a story prompt. As much as I liked Mary Robinette as a koala, let's go ahead and pick something else that has to do with description. I think we'll just go ahead and pick...
[Mary] Can I actually offer one?
[Brandon] Yeah. Go for it.
[Mary] Because this is a writing exercise...
[Dan] Nobody ever volunteers writing prompts!
[Mary] I know. But this actually is a really good one, for description. Which is to focus just on the description. Take yourself someplace and for 30 minutes, describe the environment that you are in. Don't describe the people. Just describe the space. Try to use all five senses. What's going to happen to your brain is that you'll hit a point where you're like, "I cannot possibly describe anything else." That's when you start noticing the little details. The little details are the things that make a story.
[Brandon] All right. Wonderful advice, wonderful writing prompt. This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.