Questions tagged [description]

Painting a picture with a thousand words.

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2answers
212 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 ...
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4answers
603 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 ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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7answers
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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,...
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2answers
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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 ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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5answers
6k 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 ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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10answers
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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 ...
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2answers
120 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 ...
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4answers
317 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 ...
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3answers
284 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 ...
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2answers
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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 '...
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2answers
252 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 ...
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2answers
395 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
772 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. ...
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1answer
124 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 ...
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3answers
180 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 ...
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1answer
331 views

Which makes better sense? [closed]

Is it correct to say: Sign Up to our Newsletter Or Sign Up for our Newsletter Thanks!
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1answer
999 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. ...
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2answers
469 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 ...
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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, ...
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1answer
147 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 ...
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4answers
290 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 ...
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368 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" ...
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1answer
102 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 ...
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2answers
266 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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3answers
3k 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....
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4answers
137 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 ...
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5answers
3k 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 ...
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2answers
164 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 ...
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2answers
646 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 ...
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3answers
320 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 ...
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3answers
81 views

Scene descriptons?

If one is describing a gala ball, what level of detail of the room is considered appropriate? For example, if the ball is a lavish one, is it appropriate to include the table settings (conical red ...
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3answers
1k views

How do you describe someone approaching and calling out at the same time without using different font sizes?

So i have this As Fate's worry grew and grew something drew her attention to a moving star in the sky. it's light got bigger and appeared to be falling to her "...
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2answers
107 views

Should one Infodump the reader when a new environment of a fictional world is introduced? [duplicate]

When a writen story is set in a fiction world or when a character changes locals to an environment that may be vastly different to what was introduce/what they would know from real life (ie. going ...
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2answers
113 views

Describing the differences between languages

To help create descriptive differences in the way my characters talk I am looking for a list of how each language sounds. For example the German language has lots of clusters of consonants, and could ...
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5answers
270 views

How do I avoid tradeoffs with showing vs. telling? [closed]

I learned early on (as most writers have) "show, don't tell," which I agree with for the most part. However, I've found many situations in writing when I'd start to write a statement in tell, catch ...
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4answers
2k views

Different ways to say “I looked”?

I find myself overusing phrases like "his eyes flickered to (object/person)" and "he shifted his gaze to (object/person)". I use the words 'eyes' and 'gaze' a lot to describe what the character is ...
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5answers
4k views

How to describe people from the 'eyes' of a blind person?

I am currently working on a fantasy novel that is set in medieval times. I created my world, started to write, and then bumped into a big problem. My MC is blind (along with others of its race) and I ...
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3answers
577 views

Can you specify camera angles in your screenplay?

So I guess camera action is up to the director. Would I ever be allowed to pan if it is important? Would I not be able to pick certain angles? If I can, what would be the best way to specify --for ...
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9answers
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How do I write about nerdy concepts without sounding like a tryhard?

How would one express nerdy gobbledygook without sounding like a technical tryhard? For instance, if I were to explain the backstory of something and it perhaps contained the word electromagnetic or ...
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4answers
1k views

Help describing dogs' physical appearance and movement

I'm writing a story about a group of dogs, mongrels mostly. I would like help finding the correct vocabulary to describe their physical appearance. Remember that, been mongrels, I can't say simply "he ...
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2answers
235 views

How to help reader visualize the environment in a story?

In a story where there is only one character doesn't talk to anyone don't know where he is and is narrating his story
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1answer
841 views

How do I write in the language of a strict, serious character without using too much exposition?

I am working on a series of short stories and am having trouble bringing out the characteristics of one of my characters in descriptions and in his dialogue. My story is set in South Korea. One ...
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2answers
312 views

How Can I Effectively Develop Fictional Characters

So, I'm trying my own attempt at writing and I keep having trouble with developing my characters. Are there any effective methods of developing fictional characters? It can just be a small idea or ...
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3answers
224 views

How to «show» an irrelevant detail without expressively «tell»?

Here is the environment of my short story: the adaptation of film noir into literature. The characters in the story are David Lynch's Rabbits and I can't find how to introduce them. In the David Lynch ...