Quora Question #12

How do you better yourself when it comes to description?

Well, this is what I thought when someone asked me.

How do I improve my physical descriptive writing skills?

When it comes to the idea behind it, what others have said works: show don’t tell.

But that is a lot harder than it looks.

Practice is the important thing, I believe. When I want to practice I usually go somewhere that’s got a good flow of people, like a coffee shop. Then pick someone to observe, eavesdrop.

Then write a short story or flash fiction piece about what you observed. Get as descriptive as you can. Invoke all the senses. Describe the sensation of a burning hot drink of coffee burning down someone’s throat.

BUT, when it comes to description, more is not necessarily better. You want to get your reader to start imagining, not be weighed down and given everything immediately. Leave some space for the reader to add in the smaller details.

It is a lot of give and take, you have to find that happy balance.

Also, reading. Find an author you absolutely love. Then read their books a lot. Not just for pleasure but to evaluate the style that you so love to read. Look at how that author describes things. Is it simple? Is it overly detailed? Decide what draws you to that author and look at their style.

Now, don’t copy a style, but learn from it.

I would also suggest using writing prompts, critique groups and writing classes. Or find someone that will be a harsh critic of what you’re writing (not in a mean way but a constructive way). If you have those connections then you can get help pointing you in a good direction for how to make your writing better.

 

So, lovelies, what do you do to better your descriptive abilities?

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