Silver Pen

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I came here to love, learn, laugh, and hone my skills.
I hope to return the favor to my fellow Write the Worldarians.
The pen is mightier than the sword -- especially if it's launched from an elastic band. ~Me and my awesome sister Éowyn

Another Debate: Description

December 25, 2018


    Hi, guys! My first debate went so well that I decided to do another one.  If you've read a lot of my stuff, you'll notice that I tend to have problems with descriptions: when to include them, what needs to be described, and even how to write them.  So, here are the points to address in your awesome and much appreciated comments:
    1.  What should be described, in general?
    2.  When should descriptions be added?
    3.  When should they not be added?
    4.  What are the critical components of a description?  
    Please keep your comments civil, but feel free to respectfully disagree!  I look forward to hearing from you all!  Merry Christmas and God bless!


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  • December 25, 2018 - 9:14pm (Now Viewing)

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  • Silver Pen

    Yeah, that makes sense. Let me digest that a minute.

    over 1 year ago
  • Quille

    One thing my mom always tells me (she's a professional editor/writing teacher) is that everything described must be relevant to the story. If it's not important why the character wears a blue shirt, it isn't necessary to say that he has a blue shirt. If his dress style is peculiar to his character, you should include that description.
    Does that make sense?

    over 1 year ago
  • Silver Pen

    Merry Christmas all around! I'll have to think about this one and look up the piece by Corner Club Writing. Thanks, guys!

    over 1 year ago
  • pencils.and.paper.roses

    I think I’m with Christy Wisdom on this one. :)

    An important rule of description is “show don’t tell”, but this can often be broken.

    A more appropriate rule is usually “show emotion”. Then it lets the reader feel more like they are in the story.

    On character description, the comment below is pretty accurate. You really should only mention important things like eye and hair color. Now for a place/setting, that’s different. You need a good description of that. You want your reader to be able to really see the place and feel like they’re there, so you will need to do a lot there and tell about the sights, the smells, the feelings (if applicable), all five senses.

    Also, merry Christmas to you too! :D

    over 1 year ago
  • paperbird

    1. setting; giving the reader an idea of place is so important--it allows them to expand their understanding of the world that are reading. it is also super important to describe how things are done. don't give me the action, give me action description.
    2. see above.
    3. as ras said, better not to describe surroundings/actions if it disrupts the pacing. if you're making something intentionally brief, don't use description. but this is a very rare instance. it is also good to omit description if you want to be intentionally vague, for some kind of plot reason.
    sometimes it's also good not to describe characters physically, so that the reader can have a mental image and the people are pinned to one look or race or identity.
    4. ACTION. you could be describing the most boring thing in the world, but it should still be very action-oriented. consider the difference between "the clock was ticking" and "the clock's handle swiped its counterpart." there's something much more interesting and important to read about description with good action words. vocabulary is also very important--using just the right word. metaphors are also something to include, but that kind of goes with the action idea.
    merry christmas!

    over 1 year ago
  • rainandsonder

    1. Character and setting.
    2. IMO description should contribute to other part of the piece, such as character, setting, and tone. For example, we probably don’t need to know that the main character has blue eyes, but maybe we should know that the main character has huge bags under their eyes. You should also slip in the basics, aka whether it’s night or day, whether it’s city or country, maybe hair color or something, but don’t spend too much time on it and slip it in in a way that fits.
    3. Pacing. If it slows down the pacing in a scene that’s supposed to have fast pacing, such as an action scene, maybe don’t use it or don’t spend too much time on it. Also, don’t describe unimportant things or spend too much time on description in general.
    4. This would take too long to explain, but the Corner Writing Club account has a piece that I think sums it up— I forget what it’s called, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find.

    over 1 year ago
  • Christy Wisdom

    Oof, I had to learn some about this myself. I'm not sure I'm doing it right yet :) So, I think that characters should be described so that readers can have a mental picture of them. I mean, you probably don't need the exact height unless it's really important, but I would go with a short description of eyes, stature (short, tall), hair, and maybe (but not necessary) buff/weak, skinny/fat, whatever. I would also say that if you're in a place that is important to the story, describe it. Five senses generally work well. I would say that they should not be added for every single random character passing by (unless necessary), probably not if they're in, say, a cafe, unless you want to say it's packed/empty, but for places they're only going to be in for a brief scene and then never again, you probably only need a very minimal description.

    over 1 year ago