Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Writing Wednesdays

So, I hope no one will mind my indulgence to talk about writing once a week here! It is such a passion of mine, and I'm excited to share the little things I discover or think about as I pursue this dream.

Tonight, I want to talk about description. I struggle with getting enough description into my writing. For me, when I'm working on a story, I see everything in my head, like a movie playing along. It's very real, but sometimes I just assume that everyone else sees that same picture and I just jump in and get to the good stuff! On a side note, I'm a horrible reader in that I skip a bunch of description and get right to the dialogue or action!

Too much description is never fun to wade through, I admit, so it is definitely a balancing act! I think it is better to err on the side of having too much rather than not enough. It's kind of like the type of light you use to see a room. If you only have a flashlight, with a small stream of light, you only see a few details. Perhaps you notice the overstuffed chair, right before you bump into it and you would know approximately where the walls are. You might be aware of the floor covering or at least whether or not its carpet or wood. However, turning on a light switch allows you to see every detail. You see the stain on the carpet from a spilled drink. You see the knick knacks on the shelf that were handed down over two generations. You see the small rips on the arm of the chair where far too many children have crawled over and worn it down. You see the dust on the shelf with the books that range from Moby Dick to a classic thriller.

When writing a book, you only have words to build and create a story with. There are no movie cameras to capture the beauty and no actors to portray the pain. Just mere letters, strung together, pieced word by word together like a carefully sewen quilt are used to create a feeling, a room, a world. You can create anything with words, but if not done properly, you will be the only one who can see into that world and feel captivated by the magic of it.

This can apply to things on any level, not just writing a novel! Think about the details the next time you sit down to scrap a page about a fond family memory. What details do you remember that you want to preserve for those who will read it. Remember, your grandchildren will not see the event as you see it in your head. They will rely upon your use of words (and perhaps a picture or two) to relive what means so much to you.

1 comment:

*Christie* said...

Description is maybe the most important thing in writing. If you struggle, just close your eyes and put yourself in that moment you are writing about and ask yourself what you see, feel, smell, hear, etc... Make all those details up, write them all down, and you can always edit them down later. :)
PS... thank you so much for wearing my blinkie!! (I am Digital Daisy of Hand Picked Freebies.) It means a lot. I already have traffic coming to my site from your blog. It's much appreciated. I am not sure if I had your blog subscribed before, but I do now and will definitely post your freebies, they look great!


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