Monday, September 20

One surprising trick to make your descriptions pop

Description is often tricky due to the fact that it straddles the line between informing and showing. In this post, we look at one single (and maybe surprising) technique that can make your descriptive passages become quickly memorable while both telling and showing at the same time.

Writing description for a story– either you like it or you dislike it. Either method, as writers, description is something all of us need to do.

Another description trick you need to currently understand

You can utilize your understanding of your readers to write less text for the exact same effect. As long as you have a great concept what your readers are familiar with, you can use just a few words to create a picture in the readers mind of the scene.

To utilize the writing technique that you will gain from this post, you require to understand another secret of detailed text. The technique of letting your readers do the majority of the work for you.

For example, if I composed this:

As readers, we learn something about Jack (he likes tea), we wonder why he is alone, and we have actually made an entire lot of presumptions about the kind of kitchen area he remains in.

Unless there are plot-relevant information that our reader requires to know, we can move right on to the next thing that occurs (in my story, a kitty walks in and mayhem occurs).

Without informing you anything about the cooking area, the cup, or Jack, you already are starting to develop an image of the scene. this is due to the fact that all of us know what a kitchen area appears like, we know what a cup of tea is, and we have all been alone eventually in our lives. As these prevail aspects that readers must be familiar with, I had the ability to escape without saying much about the scene.

Jack sat alone in the kitchen area drinking a cup of tea.
A draft opening line from a novel I am working on

By selecting frequently understood trigger words (cooking area in this case) we can make our readers do the describing to themselves.

Now, let us get to that secret

Following on from letting your readers minds doing the work for you, you have actually released up space for other story elements. However, the setting is still mostly unremarkable. Which is where this secret can be found in.

I am aware of perhaps one author that admits they use this technique. Which is strange since it is the most reliable detailed technique I know.

Here is the secret:

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For more tips on composing make certain to have a look at our composing advice archives.

If I described a ratty run-down office with a pristine bright red glossy filing cabinet, well, now you want to know what is so special about the cabinet.

As these are common elements that readers ought to be familiar with, I was able to get away without stating much about the scene.

Invent or identify one surprising detail.

A snow-covered winter woods with a single victorian age light post in it. From that description alone, you probably currently thought that I was speaking about The Lion, The Witch, and Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. That one detail is all we required to make the setting stick in our memory.

Following on from letting your readers minds doing the work for you, you have actually freed up area for other story elements. From that description alone, you most likely already thought that I was talking about The Lion, The Witch, and Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. That one information is all we needed to make the setting stick in our memory.

Give it a shot and let me understand how you get on.

All it takes is one unusual, unexpected, or remarkable feature of a setting to hang a fully unforgettable yet brief description upon.

For example, if I explain a ratty run-down office, you might probably picture it. If I described a ratty run-down workplace with a pristine intense red glossy filing cabinet, well, now you wish to know what is so special about the cabinet. Moreover, that one detail must be sufficient to anchor you in the setting and trigger you to remember it.

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