Descriptions: Taking it All In

Good morning! I hope this writing tip finds you well. Here we are, still under lockdown. How is this affecting your writing? Are you getting less done, or more? Do keep in contact, and if there’s anything I can do to help, please let me know.

Right, on to today’s writing tip, which comes to you as a result of yesterday’s daily lockdown exercise. 🙂 I am fortunate to be able to walk out of our house into country lanes. With the roads being quiet, it allows for reflection. Yesterday, as I was passing through an area of woodland, I did this exercise, and I recommend it to you, even if you are only able to do it in your living room or garden.

Stop and take in the scene. Listen to the sounds. What can you hear? The wind rustling the bushes; the swoosh of a cyclist passing by; birds calling? I could hear a woodpecker (which was what made me stop in the first place) and the distant sound of traffic on the M25, despite the ‘essential travel’ guidelines!

Take a good look at the scene. What three words would you use to describe the big picture? Timeless, green, growing? Take in a detail or two – ivy strangling a twisted tree trunk, a flattened coke can in the verge, rays of sun streaming through the trees. What about colours? Anything that stands out – perhaps one dandelion in a sea of green?

What can you smell? Damp earth, bluebells, smoke from a bonfire?

Does something happen as you stand there? A squirrel running up a tree? A runner in all the gear saying ‘good morning’ as she passes?

Close your eyes and feel the sun, or the wind on your face. Breathe in the atmosphere. Pull the scene together in your mind and find a word or two to describe how you feel right at that moment.

Now it’s time to go home and take one of your characters there! An exercise like this can bring life to your descriptions.

Enjoy your writing this week. Remember, no one can write your story but you.

Janet Wilson from Write for a Reason and Dernier Publishing


P.S. I am planning to go live on our main Write for a Reason Facebook page at 5pm tomorrow evening (Tuesday 12th), to discuss ‘Choosing Your Theme’, suggested by writer-for-a-reason Ijeoma, who isn’t sure how much Christian content to include in her novel. Come along and bring your questions! I’m still getting used to doing this, so I hope it all works! Be lovely to see you there. 🙂

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