Questions tagged [description]

Painting a picture with a thousand words.

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5
votes
4answers
281 views

Describing a sport in a fantasy setting

In one scene in my YA fantasy my characters are at a party on a beach. One piece of the setting is a group of teenagers playing a game, which my main characters later join. The game itself is not the ...
39
votes
12answers
9k views

How can I explain my world if the character is technologically not yet capable of understanding it?

One feature of my world is a plant that lives in a magmaous (rather than "volcanic") cave. It photosynthesizes by absorbing infrared radiation from the magma. However, the world is roughly at a ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

What are ways to describe feelings of fear?

What are some ways to write feelings of fear, such as: losing a loved one, almost dying, getting lost, getting yelled at by your overprotective mother and almost losing someone close to you. I ...
0
votes
4answers
2k views

Am I being too descriptive?

Each and every time I read my stories to people, only one comment is usually made, albeit in different ways... I'm just not sure if they're being honest, or if I am actually doing something right. "...
1
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2answers
3k views

How to describe a husky, low, sinister voice? [closed]

Hello! While I was writing for my fantasy novel, I was stuck on how to describe a very scratchy and low, but malicious voice for a grim reaper kind of like ghost in my story. The voice I'm trying to ...
1
vote
1answer
167 views

How do I describe this particular scene?

My character lives in a war torn country. I'm trying to start this short story with him waking up on his way to school (possibly the bus stop). On his way, he sees graffiti, vandalism (basically ...
2
votes
2answers
221 views

How to present a human protagonist from a narrator who does not know what a human is?

My protagonist is an average human as we know it in a world populated by different animal-like species. The narrator (different character) is a member of a species that resemble polar bears. As far as ...
5
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6answers
1k views

Physical description of characters

Does a physical description have to be specific to make a character feel real, or can the physical description be general and the details be left to the reader's imagination?
0
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2answers
3k views

How would I explain the atmosphere in the current scene? [closed]

I would like to find other description of the atmosphere of a scene rather than just using the word 'tense.' Instead of writing, "The atmosphere between Bill and Bob is tense." What other ways would ...
7
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4answers
75k views

How can I describe nervousness?

Becoming nervous in the heat of a situation. Perhaps you witnessed something not for the faint of heart. Like, how would I describe shaky legs without being so boring about it.
0
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4answers
221 views

Writing differently when following different character POVs - mainly age difference. (3rd Person)

I'm writing a sci-fi novel with more than one main character. Since I'm not an experienced writer, I still struggle with some basic "rules" within writing that may or may not exist. This issue is ...
2
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2answers
318 views

Active voice in situations where the subject is unknown

In a situation where a POV character isn't lucid enough to see or interpret what's going on around them, I find myself constantly describing things either in passive voice, or by using the word '...
3
votes
2answers
231 views

How to describe generic once-off characters?

What are some good tips or ways to describe a character in a story that plays no significant role, and only appears for that particular moment in the chapter and never again for the rest of the story? ...
2
votes
2answers
145 views

What is a good ratio of description/action to talking?

Background I probably am wording this badly and that's why when I searched the site I didn't get an answer. So I was wondering, because the recent totally epic chapter of my masterpiece novel ...
0
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2answers
222 views

Is it best to make a description metaphorical, or upfront?

Background I've had this question for a really long time. A lot of my work seems quite 'floaty' and 'old style' because I describe things in a very metaphorical and surreal way. For example: Her ...
4
votes
4answers
691 views

Is there any resource available listing words for facial expressions?

Describing the faces that people are making during a conversation can be difficult. He nodded, she pursed her lips -- those are easy, but I'm talking about the more subtle expressions. In the case ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Ways of describing new characters?

What are some good ways to describe the looks of a new character presented in a story? I generally mention eye and hair color, physical build and maybe if they have facial hair or not. But to me it ...
16
votes
7answers
4k views

How to show a brief hesitation around a word

When we speak, there are often small pauses between syntactic units such as sentences. In writing, these pauses are signified by punctuation: I can come if you want. (without pause) I can come, if ...
1
vote
2answers
482 views

How to describe a character when writing in First Person [duplicate]

Can someone give me ideas to describe my POV character to my reader when I am writing in First Person. I ask this because it's unnatural for a character to describe their appearance in their mind. I ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

How to stop viewing your story as a film

When thinking about scenes and story ideas, I can't help but picture something playing out as a movie. It's so much easier to picture someone moving and doing things than to actually describe what ...
20
votes
5answers
7k views

How much detail is too much?

I've read a few amateur stories online and sometimes the author will include so much detail that the reader gets a little bored or distracted and forgets what the actual story is talking about. How do ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

How can I describe technology while avoiding problems with scaling?

Worldbuilding chat has pointed me to this stack because it's less about defining the technology and more about how to express these definitions in a relatable and realistic way. A pretty frequent ...
15
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10answers
4k views

How to refer to clothes without modern words ? (e.g: t-shirt)

This is a constant struggling point of mine. Most of my settings take place in fictional worlds often inspired by various parts of human history. For instance, one of my stories is located in an ...
2
votes
2answers
122 views

Who are the most instructive authors to read to improve one's description skills? [closed]

Are there any authors who went down in history as "masters of descriptions" (either of characters or of locations) or similar? Of course, there are many different aspects one can use to regard a ...
6
votes
4answers
342 views

How do you use showing in animal fantasy?

When I read showing in stories with people, they describe facial expressions for showing (among other things). What can a writer use in an animal fantasy? I'm sure it depends on the animal, but ...
3
votes
3answers
295 views

Do Epic Fantasy and Sci-Fi books have inherently more descriptive language?

For example the book Eragon by Paolini, and Magic Kingdom by Terry Brooks. These both have lots of description. To me that means lots of showing and less telling. Other books don't seem to have ...
4
votes
2answers
99 views

Need resources to assist with describing ordinary things

When writing I've found that I have trouble describing ordinary things. For instance if I want to describe a chair I'll spend lots of time hunting down resources like this, using google searches like '...
2
votes
2answers
255 views

Succinctly indicate that an emotional hug is not sexual

I'm working on one of the final scenes of my novel. The President is a kind, intelligent, fatherly man. Sara is a high-ranking NSA official and has been through months of intense pressure that has ...
2
votes
2answers
460 views

Inventing a fictional town in a real geographic location

So, I'm nearing the conclusion of a novel, and I just realized that 70,000 words in, I've never told the readers where the characters live. Now, this is may seem like a rather trivial detail, and if ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How to develop a more vivid and descriptive writing style

One of the problem areas that I face while writing my novel is that I often get stuck when writing descriptions. I do well when writing action sequences, when writing dialogues, when showing character ...
4
votes
2answers
880 views

Avoiding -ly Words

"I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs," said Stephen King. He went on to explain that they should be used sparingly, not as a crutch to avoid writing a more descriptive sentence. ...
1
vote
1answer
128 views

How to add a new word to the dictionary

Background Okay, so I've decided now is my personal time to shine! I have thought of a great new word, and want to add it to the dictionary. Theoretically, if enough people read my book and see this ...
1
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3answers
191 views

Description of “Unimportant” Details

People advise to keep description to a minimum, or to make it worthwhile to the audience. I'm talking about description that isn't really necessary/important to the plot but is necessary/important to ...
1
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1answer
382 views

Which makes better sense? [closed]

Is it correct to say: Sign Up to our Newsletter Or Sign Up for our Newsletter Thanks!
2
votes
1answer
1k views

How to describe the flow of an hourglass [closed]

I'm thinking of somewhat of a poetic way to describe how time flows, via an hourglass. Does sand simply 'flow' through an hourglass? Drip doesn't sound applicable, and 'stream' is just basically flow. ...
1
vote
2answers
471 views

Am I just a coward, or will my reader be a coward too?

So I was trying to write about creatures that would vomit maggots, and then a different creature would lick it back up and vomit it out again to keep the meal going around. There was loads of maggots ...
1
vote
1answer
148 views

How do I portray a particular moment as climactic?

It's a first person novel, and the main character has just overcome some emotional and mental barriers in order to unlock his telekinetic potential, under the training of his mentor. “Do it, ...
1
vote
1answer
194 views

Where to put a description of characters that have a uniform?

In my novel, the protagonist starts out as a runaway slave, and I want to point out to the reader that she is avoiding those who are in charge of slaves who all wear a uniform involving a blue shirt ...
1
vote
4answers
480 views

How do I convey messages that are clear, but unspoken?

So much of communication is nonverbal - facial expressions, body language. Often, it's entirely clear what somebody is thinking and conveying even if they aren't saying a word. How can I portray this ...
7
votes
2answers
395 views

How do I get rid of overused words in my story?

I did a word frequency analysis on my story. Unsurprisingly, the most over-used words often corresponded to passages where I was lazy with my description. I'm tackling my over-used words "laughed" ...
0
votes
1answer
106 views

Do you capitalize the names of governments in a story?

I know that names of countries, states, cities, and counties are always capitalized, but what about governments and organizations? In my novella there are basically 2 sections of space, and each have ...
3
votes
2answers
272 views

How to write a scene that needs a lot of detail without falling into purple prose?

I understand the "only describe what is necessary" rule. If a character's appearance is important, I'll describe it in moderation. But what if I'm writing a scene that needs a lot of description? What ...
1
vote
2answers
106 views

Description: How to apply an adjective to a list of nouns without seeming redundant?

For example, in the case of this sentence: I drove past the empty stables and servant's quarters, and after another quarter mile I entered a very large circular driveway. Is it implied that ...
1
vote
4answers
3k views

How do i describe a vampire from the perspective of someone who has no idea what they are?

The concept of my story is that i would rewrite the story of the first ever vampire in a medieval setting, and from two perspectives, one from the vampire's friend and brothers in arms, and the other ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

How to describe a diverse set of characters without falling into purple prose or exoticism?

In my setting, a city was founded by people from all over the world, and developed in almost complete isolation (long version here). The story in itself starts several generations after the foundation....
5
votes
4answers
139 views

Should I name specific artists?

I'm currently describing a scene of a girl listening to music. My question is, should I say what singer is she listening to? Or I better skip that part and and say something like "she sat on her bed ...
2
votes
5answers
5k views

Describe person attempting but failing to suppress a laugh

There is a scene where a character is trying to be level-headed and professional. However, something happens that is funny to him. He lets out a satisfied chuckle but tries with partial success to ...
6
votes
2answers
169 views

Sentence openings variations to avoid repeating determiners and pronounces

I have a question regarding sentence openings in English language. When I write most of my sentences start with determiners and pronouns (personal and posessive). This gets repetative quickly. For ...
3
votes
2answers
691 views

Describing a large scale battle in a science fiction/fantasy novel

In my novel, there is a large scale battle involving several factions, tens of thousands of fighters, and is a defining part of the book, as it lasts for a good deal of the novel. As I wrote it, I ...
9
votes
3answers
465 views

How to write about what you don't know?

I am a strong believer in writing what you know. Everything I write is at least partially based on something that I have experienced. My problem is that for plot reasons, I need one of my characters ...