Monday, April 25, 2011

Details - A Writing Prompt

The best writers are those who dig deep and give details.  Instead of saying,  my sister, they give her name.  Instead of saying, the car, they give the make and model.  It always amazes me when I read or edit new writing how something as easy and simple as the addition of details can transform the mundane to the riveting.

The writing prompt for May 14 - take something ordinary and describe it.  Explore all the senses: taste, touch, sight, smell and sound.

You might describe the deep red claret of the wine, its smell, the sensation as you drink and it slowly glides down your throat.  Describe the shape of the goblet - how it catches the light.

If you don't drink wine, pick something else. It could be your dog, your favorite pair of shoes, a fish market in Sydney, Australia.


One of my favorites - a first kiss.  The taste of his mouth, the tingling sensation in your stomach, your sweaty palms as he moves closer.

Many times in the Circle we have repeated the refrain: "Show, don't tell."  This exercise allows that.   By describing in detail the ordinary, you bring the reader into the scene.  Be cognizant of the verbs you use, as well as the adjectives.  It is not just a flower, but a deep blue lilac.  Don't drive the car down the street; maneuver the Nissan Sentra down the small alleyway.

I have always believed that most writers are also painters and photographers at heart.  Writers see the colors, the shapes, the sights and sounds of the world.  All of that resonates with them and is why they write.  Let your heightened sensitivity and awareness of your surroundings - your need for expression - take flight on the page.


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