Questions tagged [description]

Painting a picture with a thousand words.

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11
votes
9answers
3k views

Where to find some good examples of combat or action scenes?

I always learn a lot about about writing by reading other works and following their examples. Right now I'm very bad at writing action scenes; the best I can do is write around them, describing the ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

What are some ways of extending a description of a scenery?

I find it very hard sometimes to describe a scenery, especially when the features are very bland, like you describe a city where all of the buildings are tall and look about the same or a plain with ...
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, ...
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, ...
10
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4answers
7k 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?"
9
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9answers
1k views

How do I draw attention to a girl's chest without making it overly lewd?

So, I have a group of main characters, and the current viewpoint character is going to introduce a... very well-endowed character. How do I write this so that I get the point across that she's that ...
9
votes
9answers
4k views

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 ...
9
votes
7answers
10k views

Is it important to describe how the characters are dressed?

One thing that I never mention in my stories is how the characters are dressed. Well, except when they are being described for the first time, when the main character first meets them. How important ...
9
votes
7answers
8k views

In what order should I describe a setting?

For instance I'm describing the park of an art museum in a foggy day. I'm not sure if I should start with the fog, wind, grass, threes, walking paths, buildings, stairs or something else. Is there a ...
9
votes
7answers
4k views

Writing about extreme trauma

I've just written a chapter in which one of my protagonists witnesses her entire family massacred during an invasion of her home city. This is obviously an extremely traumatic and horrifying event and,...
9
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6answers
745 views

Building a scene and readability

When building a scene at the beginning of a chapter for instance, before character interactions take place, what are the important elements to consider, and how long should the description be, before ...
9
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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 ...
9
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5answers
687 views

Am I breaking the “show don't tell” rule in the following passage?

Then, as if sensing my presence, the girl turned around. She looked young. Probably sixteen or seventeen. She had long black hair, crimson red lips, and a skin so pale it made me wonder whether ...
9
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....
9
votes
4answers
2k views

What's the difference between purple prose and vividly descriptive writing?

Elements of Style describes purple prose as "hard to digest, generally unwholesome, and sometimes nauseating." In short, it's ornate, contrived and breaks the narrative. There's plenty of advice on ...
9
votes
3answers
590 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 ...
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 ...
8
votes
9answers
1k views

Good idea to describe the heist place before the heist begins?

I'm working on a heist scene where five thieves are supposed to enter a corporate building and steal a few documents. It's supposed to be a major scene so it won't be short. I need the readers to ...
8
votes
6answers
8k views

How to introduce a world that's alien to the reader

I'm writing sort of a space-opera and I was wondering what would the best way to explain everything about the world to my readers. The story is kind of a political intrigue, and it would be very easy ...
8
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3answers
1k views

Is this kind of description not recommended?

I think I read somewhere that when writing, you shouldn't describe characters by their characteristics i.e. The tall man walked across the room Is this true? Maybe I'm misremembering
8
votes
4answers
331 views

How to describe something, that would normally be shown by facial expressions?

When I think of a scene, I often think of little hints or gestures, to express certain things or thought processes. For example a character breaking eye contact, but quickly looking back to not show ...
8
votes
4answers
445 views

Tips and tricks to describe more

I'm careful with the phrasing of this question as it is dangerously close to be opinion based. Everyone has their preference regarding the amount of description they expect to find in a work of ...
8
votes
4answers
784 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?
8
votes
3answers
425 views

Naming things the POV character doesn't know

My middle-grade novel is third person with one primary and one secondary viewpoint character. Sometimes the narrator hovers a bit more, sometimes the narrator is more in the character's head. The ...
8
votes
3answers
425 views

Knowing when to use pictures over words

When writing about food, be it a cookbook or a food blog, as long as the media supports it, the use of pictures is going to make a difference in the quality of the work. So when I am writing about ...
7
votes
4answers
543 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. ...
7
votes
6answers
618 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
92k 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.
7
votes
5answers
4k views

Writing about drug induced hallucinations and paranoia

Not long ago I wrote a short story about a mathematics graduate student on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The young student is innocent and working to finish a difficult mathematical derivation ...
7
votes
2answers
409 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" ...
7
votes
2answers
195 views

Any helpful tips on how to, better use description in my writing?

I feel as if, the novel I am writing will have a great plot and I have some creative ideas on where to go with it. My only concern is my ability to develop description through out my story. Any tips ...
6
votes
8answers
3k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
282 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Describing the taste of food

I’m asking about this not because I have a tendency to do so myself, but rather because I find it unusually aggravating when I come across it in other people’s works. I’m wondering if this sort of ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

How to realistically describe pain?

So, I was doing a writing excersie, I came up with, to help me with sentence structuring and developing my style. One thing, I ran into, however, was that I couldn't describe pain very well. The ...
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
774 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
371 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
887 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
184 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
289 views

Should you write character description points in bulk or spread them out?

I've heard a lot of people saying they skip descriptions if they are written as one bulk list, but others say it's important that we let the reader know what the character looks like and include all ...
6
votes
2answers
226 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?
6
votes
2answers
170 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

A flower's head or heart?

I’m currently writing a story and one of my characters is a butterfly. In one of the scenes, she manages to run away from a bunch of hungry lizards and hides into a flower; let’s say a Zinnia. When ...
5
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3answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
141 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
285 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
408 views

Some doubts on the use of Italicized words

Okay here's the thing. After a tough verbal fight with my friend, I concluded that I will post this question here and get some concrete answers. According to what I feel, italicized words are used ...
5
votes
4answers
229 views

Phrasing to balance immense speed with boredom

Through much of my novel the protagonist spends considerable time cruising over various landscapes at speeds exceeding 500 km/h. To you or me this is significant but to the character, it's "just a job....
5
votes
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?