Urban Fantasy Author
Book Bling Blog
What Does It Look Like?
I've added this graphic to my blog for several months, and I don't remember noticing until now that the background was a lighthouse. It immediately reminded me of a girlfriend from back home whose goal was to visit every lighthouse in MI. She often spent summers traveling up and down the coastlines of the peninsulas, visiting light-houses and making a pictoral journal of her progress.
Rather than taking pictures of lighthouses, writers must describe it, describe a thing, a person, a setting, an event, a building, an animal, whatever it might be, well enough for a reader to form a picture in their mind of what it looks like.
This is not an easy task, but one that must not be neglected if our readers are to gain a feeling of intimacy and connect emotionally with our work. That picture is worth a thousand words euphanism is not accurate to a writer. We must strive for a succinct description in which each word carries its weight in gold.
Enabling the reader to experience my stories as though a movie were playing in their head has always been a writing goal that seemed more difficult to me than developing the plot.
I spent a couple decades teaching students to write accurate and effective descriptions. Along the way, they taught me a great deal about technique and process.
Metaphor and simile are so often used in description because one of the easiest ways to enable a reader to "see" what you are talking about is to relate what it looks like to something they can already visualize because they are familiar with it.
One of the best examples I can think of is something Stephen King once wrote. This may not be exactly right, but he compared the way something spread out and marred a surface to the way grease darkened random areas of a brown paper bag that had once held a deluxe burger and fries. Who doesn't know what that looks like?
I found that students of all ages better understand description by looking at an object and brainstorming its every feature, with an emphasis on including the five senses. The most underused sense is smell and there are few places completely void of smell. Describing the scent can create an emotional response that helps the reader feel more immediacy with the story.
Scent is a sense so powerful that your brain imprints it whenever you undergo an emotional situation, good or bad. My mother's favorite flower was roses, and there were hundreds of them at her funeral. I couldn't tolerate the scent for nearly 20 years.
The best descriptions I've ever read pay minute attention to detail and incorporate the five senses. One doesn't need to get as flowery as Anne Rice, though she creates mood like no one else, but Dean Koontz can make you feel like you know his characters personally.
I still work at description, at making sure the reader knows what I am talking about and why it is important. Most of my revision focuses on fleshing out the details and making sure my work is provacative and emotionally visual. Yes, pace, plot and characterization are equally important, but for some of us starving artists, making our work read like a movie is the most difficult, time consuming process.
What is the Insecure Writers Support Group?
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! We’ve got your back!
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group from the amazing links below and connect with your fellow writers - aim for a dozen new people each time.
Shout out to our awesome hosts for this month: Hart Johnson, Chemist Ken, Candilynn Fite, Terri Rochenski, Clare Dugmore, and Lilica Blake!
I blog there the 18th of each month!
Elizabeth Alsobrooks's books on Goodreads
Illuminati - The Book of Life
ratings: 12 (avg rating 4.33)
Illuminati: The Book of Life
ratings: 5 (avg rating 4.80)
The Keeper's Secret: Tell-Tale Publishing's Annual Horror Anthology
ratings: 2 (avg rating 5.00)
2016 NaNoWriMo Winner!
My Newest Release
An Amazon Bestseller!
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