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BeethroBudkin07 July 11th, 2010 5:32 PM

A demand for help with descriptions...
Well... I have a big problem with describing what a scene looks like. It seems like I can see the scene in my head, but I horribly stink at putting that scene down in words. Usually, I simply mention the details I am capable of describing, and hope the reader would be able to see the decor just as I would, which I honestly think is a big mistake.

Can anyone give me pointers on how to word my mental scenes better on the blank page? Thanks in advance.

Citrinin July 11th, 2010 5:48 PM

You first have to start with the recognition that the reader will never see what you see. It's not because you're a bad writer, but because you are a writer. A movie director or an animator can afford to think like this more, but as a writer, you cannot expect to put your mental scene onto the page. What is important is that you focus on the key elements of what you want the reader to see.

I recently quoted Stephen King, and I think that it would be appropriate to do so again:


If I tell you that Carrie White is a high school outcast with a bad complexion and a fashion-victim wardrobe, I think you can do the rest, can’t you? I don’t need to give you a pimple-by-pimple, skirt-by-skirt rundown. We all remember one or more high school losers, after all; if I describe mine, it freezes out yours, and I lose a little bit of the bond of understanding I want to forge between us.
Essentially, for the bits that you do want to convey, it's a matter of reading and practice. Carefully read over scenes which have description styles you want to emulate, and then practice over and over again. I know it's kind of cheesy, but it is a matter of finding your style, getting feedback from others to see if it's having the effect you intended, and then improving.

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