Category: details in writing

Doorways 0


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...

Seeing the World, again 0

Seeing the World, again

Traveling is a great inspiration. From a plane, the clouds and the terrain below create ever-changing images that beg to be written down. Each mile provides new perspective as well as unique color patterns: miles of forest, freeways and country roads meandering, mountains, steams and crop circles. I place my characters beside me, trying to think of their reactions compared to my own. My fingers itch to know their impressions. Sometimes they oblige; other times I watch alone in awe of all that appears to drift below me.

Walking back through my early life is important in my ballet trilogy since I am using familiar sites and sights. It’s a chance to reflect on what was and what I saw; I realize they are not the same thing. I saw fascination where I now see shabby. At seventeen I walked along the sidewalks seeing cozy homes and tidy yards; now I see that they were small homes with postage-stamp sized lots. The friendly neighborhood stores providing groceries, shoes, clothing, variety items, ice cream and appliances during my teen years have morphed into tattoo parlors, adult stores and pawn shops, evidence that the malls outside of town have taken over the day-to-day commerce. The chance of revitalization: 0%. But, that’s what happens in older towns. Going back in time for my stories allows me to prolong my earlier fascination and ignore the current shabby a bit longer.

See the world as it was and is. Use what you see to create what you need to feed your writing. I know I will.

I’ve shares my impressions. Now, share yours with the rest of us in your comments below.

Treat the Eye: Improve Your Observation Techniques 0

Treat the Eye: Improve Your Observation Techniques

We use our sight every day but often only see the common place: trees, roads, houses, children, dogs. If we are to see the world more clearly, we need to pay closer attention. What kind of trees? What does the bark feel like? Are there cones or berries or blossoms? Is the road newly paved or rutted? Are the while side lines worn? How about the center lines: did the painter keep them straight, leave any residue or streaks? Are the houses row houses? two-story? brick? wood? well-maintained? in need of sprucing up? Are the children playing on their way...

Setting Seasons 1

Setting Seasons

Seasons need not be spelled out obviously. Get creative, visual and active!  Try writing them with seasonal nouns and random verbs. For example:           The rain clouds blew in, washing the daffodil petals,  pulling them free and dropping them to the soil. The Christmas tree leaned toward the window as if to say, back away! She shook the sand from her sandals, kicked them off and stepped onto the cooling tile floor in the entry.            It was a still morning with frost dripping from the abandoned clothesline. Published authors also use...

All That Shakin’ Going On 0

All That Shakin’ Going On

“Like the plates beneath the earth’s crust at the time of a quake, the underpinnings of her life were shifting. All she could do was to take shelter under the most stable structure she knew and wait it out.” Barbara Delinsky, Together Alone p.146 Have you ever thought what your stable writing structure might be when you feel the shaking? It might be sitting and staring at the computer or re-reading what you’ve written or walking away from writing for a few days or weeks. Every shift brings new understandings and new direction when you allow yourself to work through...

Details, Details, Details 1

Details, Details, Details

What separates mediocre from good or great writing? Details. In the book,  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the style is dated, but the details held me in the story. Betty Smith took the time to incorporate significant details related to the 1910-1915’s: money tied in the corner of handkerchiefs, carrying tin to be sold for precious pennies and reading the family Bible as a way to learn to read. In a more recent read of a current author, I felt let down. She told us what she saw instead of drawing us in with sensory details. True, her drama moved...

Before AND After 1

Before AND After

This writing exercise helped me deepen my story. Five minutes or a day before a traumatic event, characters have no inkling of what is to come. Their lives follow their day-to-day routies then, Wham! A major traumatic event arrives. So… Write that calm. Soothe the reader so that when the trauma arrives, the reader is doubly shaken. After the traumatic event has been exposed, write the after. Go back to the calm and use elements from that time as contrast to reactions/actions that followed the trauma. Example: Marta was kneading bread (mundane activity)before hearing the news of a good friend’s...

Evoking Emotion 0

Evoking Emotion

Writer’s Digest online has tons of advice worth repeating. David Morrell, addressed evoking emotion. “Talking about emotions won’t compel a reader to feel them…the reader must be made to feel the situations in the story, to experience what the character experiences; as a result, just as sequence creates emotion in characters, it will so the same in the reader.” “Writers can achieve this effect if they take the sense of sight for granted and emphasize the other senses, thus crafting multi-dimensional descriptions and scenes…In this way, the reader becomes immersed in the story, feeling it rather than being told about...