Saturday, July 19, 2008

Writing rich descriptions

When you finish reading a passage and you can visualize the setting, it enhances the plot by making the setting another character of sorts. If the setting or back-drop is not well defined, the writing may still be good, but it will not come to life.

Good descriptive passages will engage the senses of the reader to broaden the experience beyond simple words. If you mention that the kitchen had the strong, almost medicinal, smell of lemon, the reader's sense of smell is engaged even though there is no real smell. If you describe a pool as a sheet of perfect glass, mirroring the setting sun in a disconnected circle, it engages the visual centers of the brain. And even though the reader may not picture exactly what the writer pictured, it does not matter. The point is, the reader is engaged on many levels without consciously realizing it.

When you make the reader do more than just read, that is interpret data using different parts of the brain, it is inherently going to be more pleasing to the reader. Do be careful though. Make sure your descriptions are clear. If you get too flowery, or use mixed metaphors, you may loose the reader to confusion rather than a visceral experience.

I say all this knowing that my writing falls short, but I believe that if we master engaging descriptions, we will capture and hold our readers through the last pages of our novels. Now stop wasting time on the blogs and get back to writing.

No comments: