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They have to have an emphatic, solid, believable presence. They want to engage with characters and story, because that’s the reason they picked up your book in the first place. but using only the lightest of touches to achieve that goal. It may sound obvious but plenty of writers launch out into a scene without giving us any descriptive material to place and anchor the action. And once, early in your scene, you’ve created your location, don’t forget about it. So you could have your characters talking – then they’re interrupted by a waitress. There were a number of tall bar stools arranged to accommodate any drinker who didn’t want to be seated at one of the tables. Herman Melville, say, describes to us the chowder for the ship’s crew in : ‘small juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded ship biscuits and salted pork cut up into little flakes.’ Such descriptions are deft, specific, and brilliantly atmospheric.So your challenge becomes convincing readers that your world is real . Sure, a page or so into the scene, they may start to add details to it – but by that point it’s too late. If the scene feels placeless at the start – like actors speaking in somee blank, white room – you won’t be able to wrestle that sense of place back later. That means telling the reader where they are in a paragraph (or so), close to the start of any new scene. Then they talk (or argue, or fight, or kiss) some more, and then you drop in some other detail which reminds the reader, “Yep, here we still are, in this coffee shop.”That’s a simple technique, bit it works every time. As the roughest of rough guides, those nudges need to happen at least once a page – so about every 300 words. Where else but on board a nineteenth century American whaler would you get such a meal?It has to grip the reader as intensely as real life – more intensely, even. And yes, he’s started early (Chapter 1, Page 1, Line 1). He could have written something like this: I hope it’s obvious that that sentence hardly transports us anywhere. They’re not just houses, they’re That basic template is one you can use again and again. It lies at the heart of all good descriptive writing. It might be tempting to share every detail with us on surroundings. Even with a setting like Hogwarts – a place readers really do want to know all the hidden details of – J. Rowling doesn’t share how many revolving staircases it has, how many treasures in the Room of Requirement, how many trees in the Forbidden Forest. (And it would write off a little of Hogwarts’ magic and mystery.)If you’re describing a bar, don’t write: The bar was approximately twenty-eight feet long, by perhaps half of that wide. All we really have in terms of detail are those mooing red cows, some cubies (curtain booths? There’s lots more author Anthony Burgess could tell us about that place. He gives us the Visuals are important, but don’t neglect the other senses.
There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.Whether you’re describing a person, place, or thing, your paragraph should make your reader feel like they’re right there with you or your characters, experiencing the moment firsthand. Describe what she's doing, like looking out of a window or cleaning the backyard. A warm wind for February, laden with the hot greasy scents of frying pancakes and sausage and powdery-sweet waffles cooked on the hotplate right there by the roadside, with the confetti sleeting down collars and cuffs and rolling in the gutters.These non-visual references matter so much because sight alone can feel a little distant, a little empty.If you want to immerse a reader in an essay or story, there’s no better way to do it than with a crisp, vivid descriptive paragraph.These paragraphs are best when you let your creativity take control, experimenting with structure and content and using unusual, striking phrases to hook your reader’s attention.All that matters, but its importance shows itself more slowly. There are literally thousands of villages in the world which would fit that description. but still one redolent with vividness and atmosphere thanks to the powerful use of atmospheric specificity. Above, on the white ceiling, a relief ornament in the shape of a wreath and in the centre of it a blank space, plastered over, like the place in a face where the eye has been taken out. We’re also told just enough to give us an image of that place, enough to heighten tension, enough to tease curiosity. I took the large moloko plus to one of the little cubies that were all round …What matters first is this: your fictional world has to seem real. In short, it’s the detail that gives this description its vibrancy. This is just a description of a room – but we already feel powerfully impelled to read on. there being like curtains to shut them off from the main mesto, and there I sat down in the plushy chair and sipped and sipped We’re told what we need to know, thrown into that murky Korova atmosphere and Burgess moves the action on.That’s an incredibly powerful way to build descriptive writing into your text – because it feels mobile, alive and with a flicker of risk. and we’d absolutely love it if you chose to join us.You can use plotting techniques to help structure the way a reader interacts with a place: starting with a sense of the status quo, then some inciting incident that shifts that early stability, and so on. We’ve made that course available, in full, to members of Jericho Writers. For my setting, I knew I needed someplace ridiculously rainy.