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  1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Sharing my description writing eureka:

    Discussion in 'Insights & Inspiration' started by GingerCoffee, Jul 16, 2014.

    OK so let me try this sub-forum again. I don't know about the 'sticky quality', maybe I need a more causal eureka/inspiration sub-forum for these little things.

    I'm working on getting the hang of description writing and this source was particularly useful: http://writetodone.com/how-to-write-better-descriptions/

    It wasn't so much that it had great advice as it opened my eyes to something I hadn't quite grasped, description is part of the story.

    That may seem like a no brainer so let me explain. I'd been going about it trying to write what my narrator/character saw around her. I wanted to describe this fantastic world of wonder but it was coming off flat, and I wasn't doing a good job of it anyway.

    I was trying to do that but missing the key point, letting my protagonist passively react to the setting. What dawned on me as I thought of this was making the setting an active part of the story I am telling.

    Your character is frightened: make the room itself part of the thing she fears. Your character is bewildered: make the setting not just the action bewildering. ... and so on.

    For example my character enters a room to meet a man she's very frightened of. Suddenly the room itself is consuming her like entering the den of a lion. The furniture is towering over her, the walls closing in, the chair she's to sit in is uncomfortable and feels small as the man looks down on her from behind his desk.

    So not only is the man part of the story, his office is an extension of that story.

    I'll let you know how it goes with the next scene after this scary office. :)
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I love it when I read advice, or a tip or even just a casual comment and bam! - I may have heard it before but suddenly it makes sense for what I'm working on at the moment.

    Great link Ginger - love the undertoad bit!
     
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  3. Artist369
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    Artist369 Active Member

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    I've always found it more interesting to write the how-and-whys instead of the mere factual description of the surroundings. Does that chair remind them of a memory that can tie in that back-story? Excellent! Spice up the narrative with informative bits to keep the reader experiencing and living the moment instead of just taking a back seat to it all.
     
  4. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I remember when I realized the same thing. I felt pretty much the same way you did :)

    The way I tend to put it into words: "There are a finite number of things in the character's environment that she notices in the story, and there are an infinite number that she doesn't. Why does she notice one thing instead of another?"
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I've been playing with this Chuck Palahniuk link courtesy of @Jak of Hearts.

    It's actually useful advice. I had a line describing my protag freaking out as she's in the room with two people arguing. I changed it to:

    "I swallowed hard and unclasped my wringing hands, putting them on my knees to stop my legs from shaking."
    Maybe not quite perfect but, I do see it can be done.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2014
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