Sign up now for a free
address & your own
Online Writing Portfolio!
This week: Good Shot!Edited by: Legerdemain
More Newsletters By This Editor
1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions
The purpose of this newsletter is to help the Writing.com author hone their craft and improve their skills. Along with that I would like to inform, advocate, and create new, fresh ideas for the author. Write to me if you have an idea you would like presented.
This week's Action / Adventure Editor
I'm writing this month about a comment in a review I've received. I don't describe enough! I took a look at my story and it was true...so I pulled out an old college text and did a little research to help myself and thought I would pass it along. It's about descriptive writing.
Good descriptive writing is like a photograph: It presents a clear picture of an object, a person or a scene. Great description goes further. It appeals to the five senses. It's filled with clear details that help create a dominant impression. It has a focus!
Have a plan. When you describe something, you give details about it and arrange those details in a way that makes sense. Several kinds of plans can be used. For example, you can describe an object by starting with its most important feature and then describing other features of lesser importance.
Another method is spatial order, arranging the objects to be described in some systematic sequence in space. In describing a room, for instance, you could start at the left side and work your way to the right. My point is you need a plan or design! You will lose your readers with a mess of unrelated details.
Specific details are just as important. Your reader must be able to see the object being described. This means your description must be concrete. You have to supply your reader with specific images instead of vague or general statements.
Now get out your thesaurus! Don't have one? Too lazy to go get it from the bookshelf? Fine! Click your "Writing.Com Tools" drop down list and click "Ideanary". Nice tool, hm? Did you know that was there? Don't you just love Writing.com?
One way to make your writing better and specific is to use precise diction. Use words that are sharp and clear. Instead of writing that a character "coughed", use a more exact word like "gasped", "hacked", or even "wheezed". The kind of author you are is shown by your word choice and the details you select.
Take a look at your writing. Are you presenting the best possible descriptions in your story? Are you too lazy to look up superlative words? Do you use the same nouns, adjectives and adverbs again and again? I encourage you to look at your work again, see if it needs freshening up.
This month's question: How do you create accurate descriptive passages?
Send in your reply below! Editors love feedback!
Excerpt: I worried tears would spill like spring rain from her eyes, but Gretel did not cry. She had not cried since she pushed the old cannibal into the large oven. She had not mentioned God since, either.
Excerpt: "Silence! Silence! Silence!"
The crowd roars my name as I stroll into the ring. My opponent's nervous look disappears when he sees that he's up against a scrawny 16 year old. Too bad for him. He smirks, and cracks his knuckles. His lips move, but his words are lost in the noise of the audience. When he asked to fight the toughest fighter in town, he didn't expect to see someone as small as me.
Excerpt: “Well, I’m not sure exactly where to start here. What happened last night was quite unprecedented, at least in my experience. It’s not every day that a 16th century ship shows up in the Chicago Harbor flying the Jolly Roger.”
Excerpt: Mac had already stripped his coat and dramatically dashed into the smoke before Claudia's mother could dissolve into hysterics. Lanky didn't bother removing his coat. He just disappeared after Mac. The bystanders watched in terror as another part of the roof crashed to the ground.
Excerpt: With a gentle touch, he urged his horse toward the only structure that had not crumbled into piles of broken stones. The Wildmen of the hill-country called it a ziggurat. A pyramid with a steep staircase that led to a temple at the top where the ancient people worship their gods. Gilead felt a kind of fellowship with the structure, like him, it had stood mighty in the land of Dunraw, and like him, it seemed strengthened rather than weakened by time. For the most part, this is what he cared to believe. However, he was not blind to reality and as great as Gilead believed it to be, the ziggurat as well as himself could not turn back time.
Excerpt: The mightiest tree in all of this vast forest stood proud and tall, its crown of green leaves ruffling with the occasional gusts of wind. Insects skittered over its thick roots, squirrels danced up and down the mighty trunk, and birds were chirping a lovely tune as they nested in the branches. The tree was old and wise, and saw itself as a just king, but it refused to shelter those it saw as insignificant.
Excerpt: Even though he was leaving his wife’s body behind and six-feet under, he was at the same time taking something else with him, something that felt as heavy as his pain and suffering: his blame. It knew Will very well, intimately, in fact, and longed to be reunited. Over the last year it had lost its hold. Now it was back, stronger than ever, and determined to prevail. As the creature oozed from the ground beneath Will’s feet, it began to follow him; discreetly at first, dodging in-between gravestones and Cyprus trees, and then as Will headed out the front gates it pursued him in earnest.
Excerpt: We met ten years ago, co-workers thrown together when the company we worked for down-sized. We rounded on each other with suspicion and territorial stances. Each believed her job was in jeopardy due to the presence of the other. Maxine and I were as different as mice and chipmunks. If we were trees in the park, I was the willow, and she the mighty oak with strong wide trunk and expansive leaves. My delicate bones and long tapered fingers matched the sweeping willow tree I called my friend. Seated under trailing branches, I felt the tree accept my love despite my human failings.
Submit an item for consideration in this newsletter!
Have an opinion on what you've read here today? Then send the Editor feedback! Find an item that you think would be perfect for showcasing here? Submit it for consideration in the newsletter!
Don't forget to support our sponsor!
InstantPublisher.Com: Self publishing made easy and affordable. All file types accepted with many options. Starting at $100 for 25 copies in 7-10 days! Visit us today!
This month's question: How do you create accurate descriptive passages?
Last month's question: What types of actions would you consider "pack behavior"?
Giselle answered: Sometimes, it's not even somebody taking action who ends up getting looked to for guidance. Keeping a cool head and simply not appearing worried also makes the pack turn to that calm person for guidance. I think, the one able to conceal fear or confusion is as much a leader as one who takes action. The author has to show if the calm person or the active person will turn out to be the best leader for the pack or if there will be a division as seen in "Lost."
S.M Ferguson off for surgery replied: To me, one form of pack behavior is when a line of drivers all speed down the road no matter the posted limit. My hubby does this a lot, saying 'just keeping up with traffic.' Reminds you a bit of those movie style lemmings!
To stop receiving this newsletter, go into your account and remove the check from the box beside the specific topic. Be sure to click "Complete Edit" or it will not save your changes.