Rebecca McClanahan in Word Painting says that description promises rewards to readers. Descriptive passages create the illusion of reality, inviting the reader to move in, unpack his bags and settle in for a spell.
The best of published writers sometimes miss the mark, leaving readers disappointed or angry that they didn’t find that comfortable place to enter the work. Our challenge becomes learning how to open the door to our stories or to create our visual landscapes with words. McClanahan suggests we use double brushstrokes: intensify our observation skills and merge them with our imaginative eye. Consider these observations as doorways into story:
The Marin County smart new houses arranged themselves on the cliffs like glass boxes on shelves. Harvest by Belva Plain (p.30)
The windows had gone black; they were steamy with our lives. While I Was Gone by Sue miller (p.15)
The early morning dampness clung to the shrubs like pave diamonds set in malachite. Too Big To Miss by Sue Ann Jaffarian (p.160)
They gathered mountains and valleys, rivers and while horizons the way a man might now gain title to building lots. East of Eden by John Steinbeck (p.6)
Pinprick streams of sunlight spilled down through the evergreen ceiling, danced in golden patches on the brown-needled forest floor. Waiting for the Moon by Kristin Hannah (p.58)
Rain-rotted shingles drooped over the eaves of the veranda; oak trees kept the sun away. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. (p.8)
As dusk changed to dark, the distant hills looming across the street faded to black sentinels. 84 Ribbons by me, Paddy Eger (p.37)
What images have you found to open doorways into your own writing?