The Chuck Wendig/TerribleMinds writing exercise for today is to describe one thing in ten different ways. I decided I needed to attempt this one since description is NOT my strong suit. I chose to describe description:
Writing description, for me, 1) is like pulling teeth. Yes, cliché is often my go-to strategy. Don’t most of our brains take the path of least resistance most of the time? It’s 2) like a traffic jam when I’m already late (HA!)
Okay, now that I’m done dating myself, let’s proceed, shall we?
Writing description 3) is hard for me. Once in a great while, 4) it pours out of me as though someone has turned on the rusty description faucet in my head, full-blast, if only for a few minutes.
Usually, writing description – for me – 5) is an afterthought. I’m a dialog person. I hear voices in my head and transcribe their conversations to avoid having to admit I’m crazy.
Description. Did I mention it’s hard? Yes, I did. I just checked. I don’t suppose I can count that one twice, huh?
Reading a book that is missing necessary descriptive details 6) is like trying to find your way in an anxiety dream. Getting your details wrong 7) is like setting your Cleopatra novel in Cleopatra’s time and giving Cleopatra a scroll that she carries around in the pocket of her tunic like a modern teenager would carry around her favorite romance novel (or her Kindle) in the back pocket of her jeans. I actually read a book like that not long ago. True story.
For me, trying to write description 8) is akin to staring at a plain white wall all day every day in an attempt to spark an idea. I mentioned description is hard for me, right?
Usually, I have a hard time knowing if my writing is missing necessary descriptive details without putting it in front of a critique group. I could never try to publish something without having at least a few people critique it. For me, writing description 9) includes listening to feedback to learn which details are needed to properly set the story in time and place. It involves listening to my readers when they tell me my story confuses them. It sometimes even involves stealing ideas from my awesome critiquers who so often know so much better than I do what my story needs when it comes to descriptive elements.
Almost there. I guess to sum it up, writing description 10) is like a “No Smoking” sign on your cigarette break. No, I’m kidding. Sorry, Alanis keeps popping up on my favorite iHeartRadio station. Okay, I know: When it’s time to write description, 10) I always remember how much I’d rather be cleaning house than writing.
Phew. Okay, I’m pretty sure I cheated on this exercise. At any rate, it got me to write something at 7:00 a.m. with five kids in the house. For my next trick, I shall describe an actual *thing.* Or I might, if I haven’t lost my momentum by the time I return home after delivering all of these children to school. Have I mentioned my important new job working as a before-school babysitter? EE-YEAHHHH. Fun.
Can you describe something in ten different ways? Please share your attempt on your blog or in the comments below.
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Yes, accurate yet functional description is difficult. For more advice on creative writing, visit my blog!