Questions tagged [description]

Painting a picture with a thousand words.

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40
votes
7answers
5k views

How often should I remind my readers of the setting?

My story takes place in a city during a hard winter: streets are covered with snow, the wind is blowing, the river is frozen. I describe all the setting in the very first scene. My character leaves ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Sensory Information Overload

I'm reading The Book of Human Emotions by Tiffany Watt Smith (good stuff if you want to inform the use of emotion in your writing), and I've just come across Overwhelmed (feeling). It talks about the ...
6
votes
3answers
669 views

How do I describe an accidental kiss between the two main characters that is romantic as well as regretful?

How do I describe an accidental kiss between the two main characters? I want to make it so they got caught up in the situation and that both of them apologise to each other after that, like a kiss ...
18
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9answers
5k views

Is it ok to reference something modern to give the reader a better idea of what something looks like if the book is set in the Middle Ages?

This is a random example but would it be bad if I said something like this when the book is set in a historical setting: “Edwards sword was black and shiny like a brand new car” is it not ok? Should I ...
6
votes
4answers
267 views

How does one go about describing someone doing Naruto like hand symbols?

Like how do I describe if someone is doing symbols with their hands like this? I want to describe specific hand formation but that seems like it’ll be a whole paragraph just for one second of saying ...
5
votes
3answers
188 views

How to express uncontrollable sadness [closed]

I am doing an assignment where I have to add my own chapter into a book our class read called Looking For Alaska by John Green. When: We don't know what she's feeling when she does it because it's ...
3
votes
4answers
227 views

How to write about characters and places you aren't personally familiar with?

What do I need to do, as an Indian writer, if I want to make British or Americans the main characters in my book, and make the whole story revolve around them in any other country? In general, is it ...
0
votes
1answer
240 views

How to write about pouring water? [closed]

When someone treats a wound, like a burn, there’s this sound of the water pouring down, hitting the sink. Does anyone know what the sound is called? What things should I keep in mind while writing ...
2
votes
2answers
569 views

How to express Nihilism without explicitly stating it? [closed]

In my novel, the character is sitting in a café sipping coffee, and she is watching a busy street of people rushing towards London underground after the office hours. I want to express the thoughts in ...
7
votes
4answers
728 views

Do I need to repeat character descriptions of main characters from one book to the next?

In the second book of my trilogy, do I need to repeat everything about the main characters' appearance from the last book, or can I just mention a few key things?
4
votes
1answer
562 views

How to describe sound? [closed]

I have this scene in my novel that I'm trying to write. There is this character who is on the boat, rowing. I don't know how to describe the sound of the oar touching the water as he paddles. The ...
6
votes
8answers
2k views

Describing something that doesn't exist [duplicate]

I'm in the middle of my first draft for my novel, and I can't seem to properly convey to my audience the image I'm trying to describe. That's what I want to show my readers, but it's coming across ...
7
votes
4answers
504 views

Describe illustrated characters?

I'm writing a YA fantasy novel in my free time that I plan to illustrate myself. Most if not all named characters will have their 'picture' presented to the reader as soon as they are introduced. ...
19
votes
6answers
6k views

Should I describe a person or a room first?

If you are introducing a new character and a new location, both are going to be involved for a while, which description should I put first? The character becomes close friends with the protagonist and ...
3
votes
2answers
124 views

How to incorporate figurative language into a simple statement [closed]

Suppose you have a simple statement like: We should not run away from problems but face them and overcome them What, in general, is the way to go about expressing a simple, direct statement like ...
14
votes
8answers
3k views

What are the limits to description in story writing? How do I know if I have crossed them?

Time and time again, I have been told that my unfounded focus on description distracts from the main story line. I mostly write stories in English, which doesn't happen to be my first language but I'm ...
3
votes
1answer
86 views

Leaving out names/pronouns to speed up the flow of a script?

Example: Jane digs in the flowerbed for her ring. Moves to the yard. I’ve seen this a bunch of times, but it still feels sort of wrong when I do it. I just want to know if this is “normal”. ...
1
vote
1answer
92 views

In a script - Is it ok to have a general description of a character “YOUNG MAN”, then the actual description?

For example: A YOUNG MAN drifts into a bar. Something absent in his yes. His varsity jaket, dirty and torn. Blood still drips down his face from the accident. This is -- JAMES SMITH, 17, the boy next ...
3
votes
3answers
102 views

Am I changing POVs if I'm describing what two or more characters are sensing (touch, smell, sound, etc.)?

Am I changing POVs if I'm describing what two or more characters are sensing (touch, smell, sound, etc.)? I know it's not okay to jump from one POV to another. Example: Anna was afraid he'd notice ...
6
votes
2answers
198 views

How to describe 4 main characters at once without overloading the reader with information?

My main characters first appear in the book all at once. How do write their descriptions so that the reader isn't overloaded with so much information all at once?
10
votes
5answers
3k views

How to avoid pages of dialogue?

I'm starting my story with my protagonist found (by the police), bleeding at a crime scene. When he wakes up, he has no recollection i.e. he's lost his memory. He's interrogated by two Inspectors, ...
8
votes
7answers
1k views

How specific should descriptions of settings/appearances be?

Some people tell me there are not enough descriptions in my book, some say there are too much. How do you know how much detail is enough? Is there like a rule of thumb for these things? Do I leave ...
10
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4answers
6k views

Is shaking of the head positive or negative?

When you say a character shook their head, does that mean they nodded, as in "yes", or they shook it sideways, signifying the answer is "no?"
14
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6answers
4k views

Should I repeat character descriptions if a character reappears the second time too far into the story?

Should I repeat character descriptions if a minor character reappears the second time too far into the story? For example, I have a minor character who is introduced and has a bit of involvement at ...
4
votes
3answers
966 views

Describing body language?

This is something I've pondered before. I asked about one gesture on yahoo answers long ago. All I got was a guy saying that even he didn't know the term for it (it was the gesture where someone holds ...
15
votes
5answers
13k views

How to describe a female character's figure without comedy?

Do you know a good way to describe a female character's figure? I'm writing a fairly serious story, but the only way I know how to describe this is from comedy stories, where they work out some joke ...
3
votes
5answers
370 views

Details: How do you describe a character's clothing in a story?

I'm writing a story and I need to describe the character's appearance. My character is wearing a football jersey and running on the field, so how can I describe this better? This is what I came up ...
7
votes
6answers
591 views

How do I write an action scene?

I have recently written an action scene, and I am not satisfied with it. It sounded choppy and inconsistent, and I'd love to know how to write it so it makes sense, doesn't sound like a robotic ...
1
vote
3answers
261 views

What is the best description for this particular kind of building (and apartment arrangement - Central European style of building)?

I'm looking for the word to describe of a particular type of apartment building. I attached a picture to illustrate it. It is a building that has several apartments on each story with an exterior ...
6
votes
4answers
779 views

How do you use adverbs properly in fiction writing?

How do you use adverbs properly in fiction writing? In a related question, a reply states: When to use [adverbs]? When your alternative would be pretentious. There are strong nouns and verbs, that ...
14
votes
6answers
3k views

Should I use the real name or attempt to describe?

I'm writing a story in a fantasy setting, where there are characters who dress with ancient Egyptian type clothing - such as haram pant and usekh collars. Since the story is a fantasy and not set in ...
4
votes
6answers
2k views

How does a person go about describing a place/experience that they never personally experienced before, like a circus?

I've never been to a circus, and all the shows and videos I've seen about them don't give off the full effect. How does a person go about describing a place/experience that they never personally ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

Idioms in historical fiction?

I am writing a World War II novel from the POV of a German colonel (among others). In the case of the colonel, is it appropriate to use the English idiom "top brass" in his internal dialogue? To me, ...
2
votes
5answers
2k views

What are good words to refer to the condition of objects?

In RPG games objects such as weapons or armor have a certain durability represented by a number. For example a sword has 100/100 Durability. After it becomes 0/100 it means the object is broken. I ...
2
votes
5answers
951 views

How to describe a scene from imagination?

I'm writing my very first short story. a romantic fantasy, and sometimes when I try to describe the actions of characters, their body movements and hand gestures, and their eyes and facial expressions,...
2
votes
1answer
193 views

What's the name of this gesture? [closed]

Imagine yourself driving a car and and spotting someone on the sidewalk. You stop the car beside him and want him to get in the backseat. You say something like "Hey, get in." with a nod of ...
18
votes
6answers
4k views

How to express martial arts action in fiction?

In the context of an actual as opposed to training fight scene in a fictional narrative, how would one express martial arts action? Generally, martial arts has a distinctive disciplined but powerful ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

How to create tension during a conversation

In my novel my protagonist speaks to a man while being held at gun point. She (protagonist) tried to kill him. He was her boss, was involved in her best friend's death and wants the protagonist dead. ...
2
votes
3answers
142 views

Is it okay to sum up unimportant dialogue in the description? Let me explain

Like many, I’m a huge fan of the HBO series True Detective. I was reading the script for the second episode and I noticed this: INT. STATE CID - NIGHT Hart and Cohle enter the squad room, ...
1
vote
4answers
3k views

How much dialogue in a first date scene?

Something I always get stuck with is how to describe a first date. E.g. I have a story where 2 characters are on a blind date, so they have to get to know each other. How much of the date should be ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

When writing down a huge amounts of detail is inevitable

In hard-SF the writer has to adapt to the world and its limitation. Under normal circumstances, this shouldn't a problem, as you can always make something great, even with the limitations. However, ...
6
votes
3answers
183 views

How to describe a seemingly-random doodle/symbol, whose details are significant?

In my Crime/Mystery/Drama screenplay, there’s a seemingly random doodle at the bottom of a mysterious note. The random doodle looks like a three eyed stick man with a hat. It is drawn with only lines ...
2
votes
1answer
276 views

Trying to regain writing skills I lost after a writing hiatus [closed]

Edit: I'm confused what I need to ask so this question can be taken off hold. I'm looking for help on writing descriptive language. (it no longer flows freely in my mind like it did in the past.) ...
5
votes
4answers
230 views

How to avoid repetitive sentences? (Describing actions, he/she)

I was just wondering if anybody had some tips on how to avoid repetitively describing characters' actions in the same way? Here is an example which I'm struggling to reform, mostly because I keep ...
2
votes
3answers
5k views

How to describe guns to someone who has never seen them before

In my story, a mysterious visitor presents the characters with a new weapon: guns. These people have never seen anything like it, as gunpowder has been discovered but not really used to its full ...
3
votes
6answers
2k views

Sounds: how to describe them?

How do I describe the sound of a low growl in a low technological culture context? All that comes to mind as possible descriptions are the sounds of rolling logs, or the wheels of a wagon. Note: ...
23
votes
10answers
7k views

Should I defend my character's appearance?

I'm in talks with a publisher about my comic book. In it, the main character is a hunter who hunts monsters, but in a way inspired by how real hunters hunt. My editor suggests that the character wears ...
12
votes
6answers
5k views

What information about a fictional world is unnecessary?

I was able to gain some insight already thanks to How much detail is too much?, but I still need a more precise answer, because my details aren't bound to a particular scene. I was searching for some ...
2
votes
2answers
545 views

Should I use he, she, or it when referring to a bird as a metaphor for my cell phone?

I'm writing a descriptive essay about a bird, which is a metaphor of my cell phone. So far, I have been using the pronoun "it" when describing the bird/cell phone; however, it feels awkward as the ...
10
votes
5answers
6k views

Pregnancy in writing - A bit difficult

In one of my stories, I have a chapter that is all about a woman's first pregnancy and her experience. It is a fictional woman but still, because my writing tends to be on the scientific side of ...