“The value of a relatively long description is that it draws your readers deeper into the scene. The worry is that you’ll bore them. But if you do a good job you’ll engross them. Really getting into a description is one of the most fun things you can do as an author. Here’s the trick: Get going on a description with the attitude of discovering, not informing. In this zone, you’re not writing to tell readers stuff you already know—rather, you are writing to discover and experience the scene right alongside them.”
Sims continues with “Go below the surface.”
“A gateway to describing a person, place or thing in depth is to assign mood or emotion to him/her/it. . . . The Bay Bridge was somber today, its gray girders melding with the fog.”
Alla Crone expertly illustrates what Sims is talking about in her historical novel, Winds Over Manchuria.
Here’s an excerpt from Alla’s book:
“On the cold Sunday of January 9, 1905, the pallid sun hung over the rooftops of St. Petersburg trying to burn its way through a thin layer of clouds. By two o’clock in the afternoon the dull light had done little to warm the thousands of people milling the streets.”
Your turn. Make a list of inanimate objects, perhaps landmarks in your town. Write a few sentences, giving them moods and emotions. Or, use weather to describe and mirror your characters’ emotions. Write a scene and, as Sims says, “take a risk and go long.”
Note: Check back here for Sunday’s book review of Alla Crone’s riveting novel, Captive of Silence.