Original Post Date: February 25, 2009
Places and Things.
(Song of the Day: Love Is On Its Way, The Jonas Brothers)

something other than fashion? le gasp!! haha. now that i've handed in my modern drama essay i've got two days off to finish this story i've been working on. and as i was reading a little bit of it today, i realized... it kinda sucks. the beginning is good. the beginnings are usually my favourite part. you know when you're writing - when you start any new project really - and you're just so passionate about it, your tripping over yourself to get it out? my first chapter was fantastic. but for me, things always start strong then fizzle out. i'm determined to finish my story though. and i'm also determined to make it better! and luckily, i know exactly what my problem is (well one of them anyway). description!

whether it comes to people or places, it's my nemesis. i acutally hate reading it too. when i'm reading, i skip over the description to get to the dialogue more times than i'd like to admit. so i was looking over the story that i wanted to work on and realized it looked a lot like: they went to the coffee shop. he talks. she talks... he talks. she talks. they leave.

i'm not even kidding you! It was shocking! awful! mind you the dialogue is pretty good - if i do say so myself. (i've never had a problem finding things to say.) i've been trying to pay more attention to description lately but wasn't really picking up on just what made it so good. i've read a lot of books on writing and they all seem to say the same things. so today i went scouring the internet for some new ideas about how to write description (for setting specifically). woohoo!

♦ the first one is a given. i'm sure we've all heard the standard use all five senses. this has never really been helpful for me. you're supposed to write what you know... and i can only stretch your description of a shopping mall so far. i find it near impossible to describe places i've never seen while especially while making it convincing and not cliché.

they always suggest to mentally transport yourself to the environment you want to survive. in your mind, paint it out from the broad strokes to the finer ones. (i find this much easier said than done and i'm still looking for a tip to get around it) but once you've put yourself there, pick out the three most prominent senses. running through all five senses can bombard your reader. it seems so simple, but there are so many times (if i do write description) i only focus on what you can see.

♦ i also read that people have a general idea of what things look like. take a living room, for example. so always draw your reader's attention to what's different about a setting. particularly if it's going to pertain to something later on. i'm the worst at describing a place and then late going back to add stuff like "oh yeah! there was this fancy table where they all ate."

♦ always try to describe things from different perspectives. it's a little harder to do if you're writing in first or second person. but different characters are going to have different views on setting. what one person sees at threatening, another sees a welcoming. what one character sees as beautiful, another may find revolting. you get the idea. i didn't. i have this male rough around the edges character who once took the time to admire the modern furnishings in this posh apartment. i'll fix it, i promise =P

and i have to add, one of the best tips i've ever heard is to carry a pad of paper around with you. i've been doing it for years. i've got three notebooks full of random one liners that i pull out whenever they apply. and it goes without saying that there's no cure for putting together better sentences other than reading more books and studying the types of style they have. that's all for today! i'll let you know how it goes!

happy writing!