Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Details and Descriptions!

I stumbled across a blog the other day and one of his posts was titled "12 1/2 Writing rules." Now when I first read through them the one that got my attention was #9 Always bring a notebook. Always bring a spare pen. And even though I have one of each on the dining room table, the couch, the end table, and the dining room chair, I don't take one with me everywhere I go. I will find I am here or there and will have an entire conversation going through my head and by the time I sit down with my notebook, I have forgotten half of the conversation. I also remember reading somewhere that you should keep one by your bed, just in case you wake up during the idea with a brilliant idea!

 But the next day after reading his blog, rules #2, #5, and #10 have become stuck in my head or at least my interpretation of them. And my interpretation of them is detail, description, and stereotype. Did I tell you I'm a big, BIG fan of Stephan King? I love his work. (Well his written work, not so much his movies.)  How he can pull you in and keep you hooked for hours on end, but more importantly how his words and descriptions let you see and feel what he sees and feels. And that's what every writer should want to achieve. Yes you have this fantasy going through your head. If it's an erotic love story you want the reader to be turned on. If it's a horror novel, you want them to be scared, but it's not going to happen if you don't tell them in words and descriptions that you see and feel. The difference between a book and a movie is with the book you need to describe in detail what you want the reader to see, compared to what they notice when they watch a movie.

Here's a couple of examples;

You are lying in bed and a hand reaches up from under the bed and grabs your leg.

Okay that's the basic detail, but now let the reader feel what you feel and see what you see.

 "She's lying in bed. The air is hot and stifling in the room, so she has one leg outside the covers. When all of a sudden a thin bony hand reaches up and grabs her leg. It's nails are like talons as they tear into her skin"
I'm not a horror writer but you get the point.

The second example will be a combination of stereotyping and detail;

Let me set the scene. He's a bachelor taking the girl to his apartment the first time.
As they walk in the door he tells her "sorry about the mess. I haven't been home much this past week."
She looks around and yes the place is a disaster area. He clears the papers off the couch so she can sit down.

Okay that's my stereotype, because most people tend to think bachelors are slobs. Sorry guys. But go into detail and you could come up with something like this;

As they walk in the door he tells her "sorry about the mess. I haven't been home much this past week."
Smiling she looks around at the apartment. It's really not that bad. The living room is sparsely furnished with a couch, chair, and a TV on a stand in the corner. There is a empty pizza box and a couple of empty beer bottles on the coffee table and a pair of his shoes under the table. Walking into the kitchen there are just a few dishes in the sink. The trash could go out but it isn't overflowing onto the floor. Overall the place seems to be pretty neat and tidy or could be with just half an hour of work.

Now if you wanted to elaborate you could go into the color of the couch or a blanket tossed across the back of the couch giving her the impression that he's been sleeping on the couch.

These are just a couple of examples. Now how much detail do you want to use and how much do you want to leave to your reader's imagination. We all see things differently. We could all look at the same picture and some might notice the sky, where others are fascinated by the green of the trees, so no matter how much detail you put in, the reader is still going to see and feel it in their own way.

 Your job is to get them to see and feel what you do and pull them in and keep them mesmerized until the very last word.
 Have fun writing. And check out Joseph's Blog and read all of his 12 1/2 writing rules.

 A big, "Thank you" to you Joseph, for letting me see and feel my my own novel.

  12 1/2 Writing Rules! Great advice!


  1. Thank you for the link! This is a great post, and also the person behind the inspiration is kinda awesome (oh, that was me xD--that's enough for the go today). I thought it was great all the details you gave about stereotypes and description.

    Btw, I love the picture of the dog at the head of the page!

  2. I carry a notebook with me at all times. lol Love those rules.

  3. Thank you Joseph! No problem on the link, I think everyone should read your rules! And the dog is my sweet Mitzy who is 8 years old this month!

  4. Hi Miranda! Thank you for stopping by. And all the thanks should go to Joseph for sharing the rules on his blog!

  5. I love finding posts like that that make me think and re-evaluate! thanks for sharing!

  6. Good morning Creepy Query Girl! I'm thinking (And some times I tend to over think!) whether we are a novice or a well known published author, we all need to go back sometimes and re-evaluate all the different processes of writing and publishing. Since I am new to all of this, I seem to be constantly searching for helpful blogs to help me along the way and to keep me from stumbling. Which is going to be my blog topic for today. Love the tag by the way!


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