An Exercise in Writing Description

First a Technology Tip:

Before we start writing, let me save you from my posting disaster. Write your posts somewhere else – Word, Dropbox, Google Docs. OR Save posts often. OR both!  Will I never learn? I deleted a picture from my blog post, and SOMEHOW the entire post disappeared.

writing, fiction, Visalia, Sarah's house, Beverly Glen1

My husband Vince sells real estate. Yesterday I rode to Visalia with him to take pictures of places to describe in my book, Girls on Fire. I am not good at writing riveting descriptions. I get lost on the cracks or shadows in the road, and miss the important details. Or my mind focuses on an imaginary conversation between me and a real person, two imaginary people, or me and someone imaginary, who might be real, but would never say the things he or she says in my mind. This takes so much of my attention that I probably should never drive. Vince asks me if I remember going places. Sometimes I wasn’t with him, so I have a good excuse for not remembering, but just as likely, I sat right next to him having an internal conversation.

blogging, books, Visalia, Tulare County
blogging, books, Visalia, Tulare County

Since I struggle with descriptions I rely on others to help me. George Pilling wrote a great book, A Walk Around Visalia. He’s told me what trees grow where, which neighborhoods my characters would choose, and what’s around them. He had a gorgeous picture of the house I pictured for Sarah, a character in my story, Girls on Fire. Yesterday Vince and I found it.

However, sometimes descriptions are not exact. Here are some descriptions that I borrowed and reworded from a children’s book I just read by Polly Horvath. I like how she uses descriptions of one thing to describe something entirely different. I just used a few of her words to write these descriptions.

Troublesome thoughts seemed to ease away when I walked up to the door and knocked. There was nothing remarkable about the home, but it was plain in a way that is beautiful. The way Shaker furniture is beautiful.

“We’re finally home,” Mom sighed as she picked up my sleepy brother and carried him inside, his chocolate mouth resting against her clean white blouse.

The old shake house, perched on the edge of cliff overlooking the beach seemed to look down on us with its large glassed-in eyes beckoning us up for a glass of lemonade and some salt-water taffy.

I remember as a child walking by Mr. Colvert’s house feeling a bit of a chill as I passed it. It was a grim, old narrow, gray thing,  parched, slit-eyed, and as suspicious of us as we were of him.

I spent about 20 minutes writing a detailed description of this picture. I ignored the cracks in the road – this time.

How would you describe this house picture, or would you ignore it and describe something else that made you feel the same way the house makes you feel? Do you use metaphors? Does it remind you of a home you knew well in your childhood. Would you write about the interactions that did or didn’t take place on the front lawn?

writing description.

Either copy the picture and create your own post, or just write in the comment section. Tell us what techniques you like to use when you write descriptions.

 

 

Author: Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, author, blogger and retired teacher/consultant - Promoting Hobby Blogging

11 thoughts on “An Exercise in Writing Description”

  1. Beautiful description. I was absolutely entranced. It just crackled with life and vividness for me. Excellent writing.

    P.S. Did you try holding down “CTRL” and hitting “Y” once on your keyboard right after you deleted the picture and found your post was wiped clean with it? That’s saved me on a number of times.

    Jubilant cheers,

    Autumn Jade

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OOOPS I meant CTRL Z!! Sheesh, typical of me to flub it up and always hit “post” at lightning speed!! CTRL Y is the redo code, I believe. CTRL Z is the undo. I’m sure you already knew that, but I thought I’d let you know, just in case. Both have saved me myriads of times!

    Liked by 1 person

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