1. Published on Amazon? If you have a book, e-book, or audiobook available on Amazon.com, we'll promote it on WritingForums.org for free. Simply add your book to our Member Publications section. Add your book here or read the full announcement.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice
  1. LMThomas

    LMThomas Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    4

    Need help with a description

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by LMThomas, Apr 16, 2016.

    In my scene a short, Mexican bartender is coming over to my MC's booth to take orders. I'm trying to figure out a way to describe his walk more interestingly than this:

    "The bartender came over to their table and asked for their drink orders."

    Any ideas? I'm stuck on it. "Lumbered over" implies he's tall. The baretender isn't a MC, he's only in the book for a few scenes. He's a serious no-nonsense guy.
     
  2. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    7,375
    Likes Received:
    7,067
    Is it important that the "came over" part is mentioned? If you're in the POV of one of the characters at the table, you'd generally only describe what they see/focus on, and unless things are very boring at the table they probably wouldn't notice the bartender until he arrived. So maybe just:

    "We need to talk about that," Jane said firmly, then turned and smiled at the bartender, who'd just arrived at their table.

    "What can I get you to drink?" he asked, his smile polite but not quite friendly.​


    Or if things at the table ARE boring or awkward or whatever, you could probably play that up:

    Jane stared at the bartender. He was clearly on his way over to take their drink orders, but he was taking his sweet time about it.
    More general note: Often when I have trouble describing something it's because that something isn't really important enough to deserve a description. I try to save the details for when they're important. If there's something important about the way this guy is walking to the table, I'd mention it, but otherwise, I think you could gloss right over it.
     
    Pauline, Tesoro, ChickenFreak and 3 others like this.
  3. LMThomas

    LMThomas Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2011
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    4
    My teacher said I should describe the bartender based on how he walks rather than make a whole paragraph about him. That's basically why I'm asking.
     
  4. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2013
    Messages:
    17,702
    Likes Received:
    5,978
    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    "The bartender came over to their table and asked for their drink orders."

    The quick hustle of the bartender belied his short stature.
     
  5. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    2,935
    Likes Received:
    2,822
    Location:
    Brighton Heights
    The forehead pressed against their table top, and Jessica peered to her lap, felt breeze against upon her knee tops, felt a swift pang of jealousy. Size three shoes were pushed against her own heels, were delightful little feet, and attached to the cutest tummy. She blushed, gathered the waiter in her arms, sat him upon her thighs, brushed his back, burped the lad, watched as he took their menu order with the pencil.

    'I was not expecting that, ' said Kevin.

    'Don't you love the little people?' said Jessica, a faraway look in her eyes.

    'Need the bathroom..' said Kevin, and rose among a sea of tiny chaps. Waiters bustled between tables...blah blah
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2016
  6. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    5,015
    Likes Received:
    2,747
    But why describe the bartender at all? Is he important? If this character isn't important, I simply wouldn't waste any description on him. If you must mention him walking over, what you have currently re "he came over and asked them for their drinks order" is perfectly sufficient. There's no need to jazz up what should be very simple unless there's a reason to jazz it up. By the sounds of how you've described this bartender, there's no reason to, so don't. Sometimes simple is best; you don't have to make everything exciting.
     
  7. A man called Valance

    A man called Valance Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    259
    Likes Received:
    399
    Location:
    Here and there, mostly there.
    shuffled over, sidled over... bunny hopped.
     
  8. Kate Sen

    Kate Sen Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2016
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    95
    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    Barreled over
     
  9. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    7,375
    Likes Received:
    7,067
    Is your teacher someone who seems qualified to offer advice like this? (ie. not a standard high school English teacher - someone with some actual experience in creative writing?) If so, maybe you could ask your teacher for clarification?
     
  10. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2012
    Messages:
    2,935
    Likes Received:
    2,822
    Location:
    Brighton Heights
    O give o'er...teacher's probably looking for more sophistication, gives him a nudge.

    'CW Teacher' heh heh... like to see him fight that corner...[respectfully @BV :)]
     
    BayView likes this.
  11. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    10,449
    Likes Received:
    7,085
    Was this in the sense of, "This is a way to make the piece better" or was this the actual assignment ("Write a scene based on the way that someone walks.")?

    Because I find myself disagreeing with your teacher. Well, that is--yes, you don't need a whole paragraph, but do you have to describe the bartender at all?
     
  12. tonguetied

    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 23, 2014
    Messages:
    568
    Likes Received:
    230
    Location:
    Central Florida: land of fire and sand
    The bartender appeared at their table and said, "What's your poison?"
     
  13. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Messages:
    467
    Likes Received:
    305
    Location:
    The Brazos Formation
    Although, here in the States bartenders usually stay behind the bar. Not sure how it is in Mexico, though.
     
  14. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2016
    Messages:
    258
    Likes Received:
    197
    Give us the rest of the scene, and we can give you a better idea of what to say. Although I have to agree with mckk - unless it's really important that he do something besides "walking over to the table", just keep it simple.
     
  15. zoupskim

    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2015
    Messages:
    1,028
    Likes Received:
    896
    "The bartender slunk over, flipping a notepad open lazily as he approached."
     
  16. EJ Byrum

    EJ Byrum New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2016
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    As was his normal style, the bartender shouldered his way past the noisy patrons and came to rest at our table. With his elbows propped against the sticky table-top he leaned in and uttered, "what'll it be?"
     
  17. JLT

    JLT Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2016
    Messages:
    373
    Likes Received:
    325
    If he's energetic, "trotted over." If the place is crowded, he "made his way over." If he's not one to be rushed, "ambled over." It just depends on how important it is to convey either the bartender's attitude or the surroundings.
     

Share This Page