Just as quilts are used to decorate our homes and lives, writers need decorate their writing with description. It keeps our words interesting. Description is especially important for non fiction, it keeps our words from sounding dry and boring, like a police report. In case you’ve never seen one, try reading one of my early drafts. They look like something Joe Friday, of the old television show DRAGNET, would have written. Remember? “The facts ma’am, just the facts?” May work for police reports, not so much in articles and stories. Yeah, not a good way to hold the reader’s attention.
I don’t know of any easy techniques for learning to include GOOD description in my words. Like most writers I just keep plugging along and working to improve. Luckily for me, writers are good critiquers. They read my work, and point out when I forgot to describe something, anything, in my piece, AGAIN. Other writers are great emphaziers, posting when they struggle with descriptions, sharing their struggles.
Michelle Chiapetta over at her blog, The Chippermuse posted about this problem and listed some of her recent descriptions. While HER descriptions are vivid and add much to her stories, mine are decidedly more lacking. Still, it might help other writers to see how much I struggle, not to mention finding and posting them here helped me see they needed work, as well as gave me ideas for improving my descriptions.
- It was one of my functional, everyday, utility quilts, made with the fabrics on hand, with an old blanket as the batting simply tied. (do you have any idea what the quilt might look like here?)
- Although, there were days our house looked like a mini-car lot. (ok, this one might not be too bad.)
- Our sixteen year old sons were in awe when they saw their grandfather’s 1969 dust-covered blue Chevrolet pickup sitting in o?ur front yard.
- But the humidity is just enough to make life miserable and the temperature often passes the triple digit mark. (sure you know it’s hot, big deal.)
So there you have it. I’m sure you my problem. How about you? Do you have trouble including description? Do you have any tips for making it easier? Want to share?