When I try to do this, the description feels very dry, and I am not sure if it's possible to make it feel less dry while still being impersonal and super objective (because I am using a omniscient and objective pov).

Isabella walked through the corridor, she then reached the door to her room and opened it. Inside of the room, she found John. He had been there the whole time, waiting for her. Surprised, she let out a small squeal and dropped her handbag. The handbag thumped the floor upon contact as if a large rock had been residing inside it. Startled, John recoiled backward in a sudden movement and unwittingly hit his head onto the wall.

I am not sure if this can be improved. Let me just say I don't really like describing people's emotion. I feel I should avoid it as much as possible. I want to keep it at a minimum if possible.

How can you make the description engaging while staying objective and impersonal?

  • Squeal has a positive connotation - is that intended or did you mean shriek? – Rasdashan Mar 2 '19 at 5:06
  • Not really, wasn't supposed to be negative, really. – repomonster Mar 2 '19 at 5:10
  • 3
    I've added my vote to close this question as off-topic ("asking what to write"), although I should note that this is by inference, since your post doesn't actually ask anything at all, it merely states things. I'd say your paragraph can definitely be improved, but I recommend you edit your question to ask about techniques for making a long description of an action sequence engaging while remaining objective/impersonal. – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Mar 3 '19 at 1:50
  • Ah, well, forgot about that. The title was originally a question, but there was a warning about the question being subjective, so I changed it. – repomonster Mar 3 '19 at 1:57

How do you expect to convey emotion if you eschew describing it?

I do not know from that excerpt if Isabelle is pleased to find John in her room or horrified that the creep from across the street got in again. Is she going to call the police or caress her lover?

You created these people and that means you created thinking, feeling beings who will react to situations as they see fit, not necessarily as you do. My characters keep surprising me zigging when I expect them to zag.

You might want to develop the habit of reading your work aloud. Flaws will become obvious and any lack of flow or potential redundancy will announce itself and permit you to correct it.

I use third person omniscient and like to get inside my characters and know what they think and feel. Such is not always what they will say.

First, know who Isabelle and John are and what they mean to each other. Whether you tell the reader, such knowledge will change how you write about a character.

If I were writing that scene, I would probably write it thusly;

Isabelle walked down the corridor toward her apartment, the door opening as she turned the knob. Hadn’t she locked it? She entered and found John, waiting for her all this time. Hadn’t he gotten the message? Could this be verging on obsession? Her shriek barely suppressed, she dropped her purse, which struck the floor with a thud. John, startled by the sound - what’s she got in there anyway - recoiled and struck his head against the wall.

“What’re you doing here, hun?” Would she really have to get the police involved?

“Hitting my head. What do you have in that thing, rocks?”

“I saw that, but why did you come?”

“To see my lady, of course.” What was wrong with her? No kiss? No hug? No smile? Why so distant? Was there someone else?

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