Showing posts with label kim aippersbach. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kim aippersbach. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 27

How To Write Description

How To Write Description
Have you ever read a wonderfully descriptive passage and wondered, "How'd the writer do that?"

Today, Kim Aippersbach, in per post How to write description, tells us how. First, though, here's the description Kim uses:
And then they were crossing out of the tube into another foyer, and escorted by Christos through a pair of sleek doors clad in fine wood marquetry to a hushed hallway graced with mirrors and fresh flowers. And then into a broad living room backed by wide glass walls taking in a sweeping panorama of the capital, with the sun going down and the dusk rising to turn the city lights to jewels on velvet for as far as the eye could see, under a cloud-banded sky. (Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, by Lois McMaster Bujold)

1. Be active

The first thing I noticed: there isn't a single instance of the verb "to be."For a passage of description, there is a remarkable amount of action here. The characters are moving through the setting: "crossing into" and "escorted through" "and then into," so the reader is carried with them. But even the inanimate objects don't just sit there. They are "clad," "graced," "backed." The sun goes down, the dusk rises and turns, the eye sees.

2. Focus on important, key, details.

When describing something less is more.
The next thing I noticed is how much Bujold doesn't tell us. Do we know whether the room is carpeted? Do we know what color the furniture is? Is there a couch in the living room? Does it matter? She gives us only the most telling details, enough to convey luxury, taste, beauty. The rest we can fill in for ourselves.

3. Filter the description through your point-of-view character.

Kim writes:
Description reveals character, can even reveal emotion, by showing what the character sees. 
Here's how Kim sums it up:

Three Rules for Writing Description

1. Use strong verbs that contribute to the atmosphere you want to create.
2. Only describe the telling details.
3. Be aware of who is narrating the scene, and describe it through their eyes.
My article has just been a quick summary and doesn't do justice to Kim's analysis. She provides a detailed discussion. It is a wonderful, and wonderfully informative, article!

Other articles you might like:

- Mark Coker, Founder Of Smashwords: Six Ways To Increase Book Sales
- Different Kinds Of Story Openings: Shock And Seduction
- The New Yorker Rejects Its Own Story: What Slush Pile Rejections Really Mean

Photo credit: "FOREST KING" by balt-arts under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Saturday, September 10

Liebster Awards

Michael Haynes gave me a Liebster Award! I'm so excited. I actually did a silly little Scooby-dance.

It was just like this without the cool clothes and music. Honest!

Okay, maybe not.

After I finished my dance I wondered what the Liebster Award was. It was an award, yes, and therefore intrinsically good and something worthy of great excitement, but what was this Liebster bit about?

Apparently "liebster" is derived from a German term meaning, "a close friend." As I understand it, the award is given to a writer with a blog that has fewer than 200 followers.

Here are the rules of acceptance for the award:
1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog or sending them a tweet.
3. Post the award on your blog. (Right-click the image, above, and select "save image as").
4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the internet—other writers.
5. And best of all – have fun and spread the karma.

Without further ado, here are my picks:
- Kim Neville and her blog, Kim Neville: Faith, trust, pixie dust
- Kim Aippersbach and her blog, Dead Houseplants
- Martin Lastrapes and his blog, My Musings
- Jamie Sedgwick and his blog, Chronicles
- Shawn Hansen and his blog, Scribbled Stories

It was super hard picking just five. I ended up writing names on index cards, tacking them up on my wall, blindfolding myself and throwing darts randomly. I broke a window and gave my favorite top some ventilation, but it was worth it! Okay, maybe it didn't go quite like that but, still, picking the recipients was difficult.

Thanks Michael, this was fun!