These can be scary days we live in if we don’t know where to find the answers. The times have changed forever the face of our world. The times, they are achangin’, but I’m grateful for the time we have to spend together each week. So let’s get to it.
Often, we’re told that all you need is a good story to succeed. So what makes a good story? Maybe vibrant characters will hold our reader’s interest. Or could it be we need an exciting plot? All this is true. What isn’t true is that that’s not all we need.
This week we’ll take a look at description. Remember the last time you couldn’t put down a book. What kept the pages turning into the wee hours of the morning? No doubt the characters were well defined. No doubt the plot was intriguing. But what about description? It’s description that makes characters come alive (of course, great dialogue always helps). It’s description that creates a believable and drivable plot.
The key to holding your reader’s attention is to activate their imagination. How do you do this? Vivid description. You can help your readers see past the pages and take them into your world by using powerful descriptions of nouns, in particular. Think people, places, and things. Let’s add events to the list.
Detailed description allows you to establish an emotional connection with your audience, thus making the content more memorable, which keeps your readers engaged and coming back.
I leave you with three thoughts on description. Hopefully, these will make your writing more compelling and clear.
1. Focus on the human experience. Realize that you are one human writing to another human. What do you experience in your human form? The one on the other side of the book experiences the same things. Make your description identifiable. Just like you, they go through challenges, moments of joy and pain, times of frustration. Let these show in your writing.
2. Use sensory words. This is one of the best ways to help your reader understand the scene you set before them. You have five senses. Your reader has five senses. Use them all. Don’t just allow them to understand the scene. Allow them to experience it. Below are some examples of sensory words.
Sight: Dark, dingy, gloomy, bright, dazzling, shimmering, twinkling
Touch: Smooth, scratchy, frigid, scalding, fuzzy, rocky, slick
Sound: Screeching, buzzing, chirping, clinking, growling, jangling,
Taste: Bitter, sweet, buttery, zesty, spicy, tart, crispy
Smell: Musty, foul, floral, piney, smokey, acrid
3. Include anecdotes, similes, and metaphors. Especially when writing nonfiction, anecdotes are helpful. An anecdote is just a short narrative about a real incident that helps to drive home your point. In the world of preaching, we call them illustrations.
A simile is a comparison of two things using the words “like” or “as.” For example, “The rain flooded the streets like an ocean.” A metaphor is like a simile but without the use of “like” or “as”. We could say, “The sound of the rain was music to my ears.” We compare the flooded streets to an ocean. We compare the sound of rain to music.
It may make things a little more difficult, but I believe developing description will be time well spent.
That concludes another Wednesday. I hope yours is as great as I’m planning mine to be. See you next week.