Guest Post: The SECRET to Create Interesting Description

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Guest Post: The SECRET to Create Interesting Description

 

Guest Post: The SECRET to Create Interesting Description: Guys, today we have Tim as Guest here. Tim wrote this amazing post on description, something that I dare to say I’m not very good at! It’s so informative, I invite you all to learn more with it!

 

Guest Post: The SECRET to Create Interesting Description

 

“The dog rests by the tree. The dog is brown. He is a nice dog.”
 

In this scene, we can clearly observe that there is, in fact, a brown dog by a tree and that he is nice. The three sentences give the information they intend to, so why is it so painful to read? Why is it boring? Why, if the scene continued in this manner, would it make us want to SCREAM?
 

It’s because of the description.
Or, in this case, the lack thereof.

We know next to nothing about this sweet doggy. What’s his name? Does he enjoy belly rubs?! THESE ARE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS!
 

Description is hard, but all good things are. It serves such an important purpose in writing. It makes learning a new world and discovering new characters enjoyable. We all want those moments in our story that make the reader jump for joy or slam the book down and yell, “How can they do this? Not my favorite character!” But we can’t have those moments without building the world and developing characters worth caring about. Description makes the world building and character developing easier to digest. If you think of your plot and characters as the main course, think of description as dessert. It doesn’t fill you up, but maaaan, is it delicious!

Here a few easy things to remember when working on description in writing.
 

First- Imagery.
 

1.) The dog rests by the tree.

2.) The dog lounges in the shadows and is completely dwarfed by the towering oaks on the edge of the yard.

Sure, leave some stuff to the reader’s imagination, but give your reader some guidance. You control what you want them to imagine.
 

Sentence two offers significantly more description without adding unnecessary ‘fluff.’ It builds the scene with little effort because I gave specifics. Both sentences tell exactly who, what and where, but sentence two does so in a way that subjects the reader to more vivid imagery. Reading the first sentence causes the readers to picture a dog and a tree, but the second sentence causes the reader to imagine so much more!

First, the word ‘lounges’ in sentence two has a completely different connotation than ‘rests’ in sentence one. Rest is necessary. We have to have it. Lounging, on the other hand, is a luxury, and the dog is subtly presented as carefree right out of the gate.

I also decided what kind of tree I wanted the reader to imagine. Now, rather than just visualizing a tree, you picture sprawling oak trees all around the dog. It even suggests that the dog is small because of how he contrasts with the trees. Maybe he is small, maybe he isn’t. Who cares? At least the reader is imagining!
 

The final thing I did in this sentence was to give more information on the setting (the edge of the yard.) Subconsciously, when we think of yards, we think of houses. I’ve now set this scene in someone’s yard outside of a house without having to say, “Hey everyone, there’s also a house involved.”

We now have a sentence that gives the reader something to see.
Imagery, my friends!

Next- Invoke the other senses.
 

1.) The dog is brown.

2.) I can smell the mud caked to his paws from where I stand, and it matches his tattered coat perfectly.
 

We all know what mud looks like. We know it’s brown. And now we know our dog is also brown, but I didn’t have to say it. We can see the color in our mind, and now we can even smell it.

This sentence also explains SO much about the dog that we didn’t know. We already knew the dog was lounging about without a care in the world, but now we know that he does so even with muddy paws and a tattered coat. Nothing can bring this guy down! He clearly had some adventures before he sauntered into this yard, and it makes us want to know more about him. Where ya been, Pup? Chasing cats, probably. Shameful!
 

Finally- Show. Don’t tell.
 

1.) He is a nice dog.

2.) My beckoning whistle is barely audible, and his ears perk up instantly as he rises, his tail wagging like the flag on Mr. Wilson’s porch.
 

We’ve just shown the reader that the dog is a nice pup without saying it. Not only did we do that, but also we also further described the setting of the story by using a quick simile that compares the dog’s wagging tail to Mr. Wilson’s flag. You can gather now that the understood house on the edge of the yard is in an understood neighborhood. We’re world-building, guys, and we didn’t even know it!

Check out where we started compared with where we ended.

First paragraph.
“The dog rests by the tree. The dog is brown. He is a nice dog.”

Second paragraph.
“The dog lounges in the shadows and is completely dwarfed by the towering oaks on the edge of the yard. I can smell the mud caked to his paws from where I stand, and it matches his tattered coat perfectly. My beckoning whistle is barely audible, and his ears perk up instantly as he rises, his tail wagging like the flag on Mr. Wilson’s porch.”

I mean, night and day. The first paragraph makes me want to forget how to read, and the second sets the scene for what promises to be a tale about a dog with quite the story! Sign me up!

Descriptive language is important. Go all in. Just try! If it comes off as fluffy and unnecessary, scrap it and start over. No worries! One of my favorite things to do is read my writing out loud. That lets me know if what I’ve written is concisely descriptive or if it’s just random. Random=no good. Concisely descriptive= yes good.
 

About Me

 

Thank you all so much for reading, and thank you SO much, Isadora, for inviting me to be a guest on your blog. I hope you feel you’ve learned something practical.

I am a Middle School Lit teacher and Baseball Coach in Georgia, and I sincerely feel that I have the best job in the world. I’m nearly fifty thousand words into the third revision of my YA Fantasy Novel, The Last Alexander, and I pray you all to get the chance to read it someday.

You can follow me on Twitter if you’re into that sort of thing @timwood_7. I post about sports, movies, and TV, and writing. But mainly about how cute my son is. You’ve been warned.

Cheers,

-Tim

 

Guest Post: The SECRET to Create Interesting Description: Thanks a lot, Tim! Such a good post!

 
Learn to create interesting description here.
If you’re a writer, get ALL MY WRITING RESOURCES (planner, checklists, worksheets) here for free.

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