Do you ever struggle writing description that keeps your reader’s attention? Would you like to be able to write beautiful, vivid descriptions that lay out a wonderful, fascinating scene before the people who are reading your story?
Now, I’m not saying I’m a master at this and you aren’t! I’m still learning how to write too, and I know my descriptions could be better. Here, however, are three tips I’ve learned along the way that can hopefully help you when you are writing those tricky paragraphs that describe settings and characters.
Tip #1: Blend it with action
Don’t have so much description that your readers get bored while reading. Blend it in with action so that the story continues moving while you describe the scene around it.
If two characters are walking through a market, don’t go on for three paragraphs explaining what the market was like before having the character’s do something. Reveal the market as the characters stroll through it. Show the market through the character’s eyes. The readers only see the bright silk cloth on a table when the characters do. They only smell the sizzling meat over a fire, freshly cooked to sell when the characters sniff the air. They only taste the crunchy, flaky outside layer of a strawberry pastry and experience the soft, light layer underneath, mixed with juicy warm strawberries once the character has bought one and bit into it.
Don’t just describe what’s around at the beginning of the scene. Describe it when it needs to be described.
Tip #2: Make it as clear as possible
If you want to just get through the description quickly and turn it into run-on sentences, that is not going to work. The longer the sentence of description, the more jumbled your explanation is going to be, and people are just going to get confused. So try to keep it easy-to-read, short, appealing sentences. On the other side, don’t get too caught up in so easy-to-read sentences that you make it so simple and bland that no one gets a good picture of the setting.
Work on creating interesting, high quality, clear sentences that really show what you mean. Try to explain your descriptions in a way that everyone will easily catch onto the picture you’re trying to show to them. Perhaps when you’re talking about how an old warrior’s hands felt, you could say: “His fingers were as rough as sandpaper.” Everyone knows how tough and gritty sandpaper is, right? Now everyone has a good picture of how this warrior’s hands feel like.
Tip #3: Don’t overdo it
Now, even if you write description that is amazing and wonderful and really pops out at everyone who reads it, please please please do not overdo your descriptions. When you get too caught up in describing every little detail of your character’s surroundings or how they look, it can get very boring very fast, and more likely than not people will simply skim over that part to get on with the action. So keep your descriptions concise, clear, and tight. Give enough that everyone gets a vivid picture in their hand, but not too much so that they get bored and skip over it.
And that’s it! I hope these tips will help you in your writing. Are there any of these three tips you’re all ready implementing in your writing? Do you have some of your own tips on writing description you’ve found helpful? Please comment! I’d love to chat with you below!
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