Monday, April 4, 2016

C is for Collect

This year for the A-Z Challenge, I'm attempting to act like I know what I'm talking about and offering advice about writing.  Let's see how I do!

Also, don't forget to stop by the Parallels blog to see more posts about the upcoming anthology, which will be available on May 3rd!

Learning to create vivid descriptions is essential for a fiction writer.  It’s also important to do so with brevity.  The long, flowing descriptions of yesteryear, while a part of many classics, are something that many modern readers admit to skipping.  It’s a shame, but it’s a reality that we must acknowledge.  So what do we do?  Readers still want to be transported to another world, or into someone else’s shoes, and it’s our job to take them there.  We just have to be smart about how we do it.

How do we learn?  Practice.  Yeah, there’s no magic formula for doing this.  You just need to do it over and over again until you figure it out.

I’d recommend spending a few minutes each day describing the things around you.  If you see something interesting or unusual, describe it to yourself.  Collect those descriptions and find ways to refine them.  You never know when you’ll get a chance to use one of them in one of your stories!


  1. I'm really light when it comes to descriptions. Maybe I should try that exercise.

    1. I'm just the same, sparse on description. I am totally going to try your idea of describing things around me. Thanks for the tip.

  2. When done correctly, descriptions brighten a story.
    Thank you for the idea. I LOVE it!
    Writer In Transit

  3. that's my weak area, will try what you have suggested.

  4. Description is key in my kind of writing. It is really all I have since the characters make their own choices.

    Tim Brannan, The Other Side Blog
    2015 A to Z of Adventure!

  5. Oh... that "P" word... how I avoid it. But you are right. I need to practice, and it is easy if I just open my eyes and look around. Besides, it could be fun :)

  6. Good point. As writers we have to sneak in details about surrounding and characters' appearances without dragging down the pace. It's almost as hard as sneaking healthy food into a kid.

  7. Excellent advice.
    I love dialogue, but I hate writing description!

    Heather M. Gardner / @hmgardner
    Co-Host, Blogging from A to Z April Challenge
    The Waiting is the Hardest Part

  8. You are absolutely qualified to give advice! You are one of my fav authors/writers of this challenge.

  9. That's a really good idea. I do the odd exercise, but I don't keep it!
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles | Wittegen Press | FB3X

  10. That's a good exercise you've recommended. But yes, practice is the key!
    Rosa Temple writes...

  11. So true, that flowing descriptive phrases are no longer appreciated. lol and also, yes, a shame!

  12. Great theme LG! I like the idea of just describing the things around you on a daily basis.

  13. Part of teaching children how to improve their stories is to focus on describing things in more detail so getting children to choose a variety of objects that will be a part of their story is a good way for them to practise this as they can actually look closely at them.
    A Stormy’s Sidekick
    Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

  14. Great advice. I always seem to go light on description because I'm one of those skippers when I read. Finding the right balance can be tough.
    Discarded Darlings

  15. Years ago I was asked to describe an orange during a job interview. The interviewers loved my description--they could taste it, feel it, see it, etc. I didn't get the job. Now I write.

  16. Great theme, and great advice too! Learning the right balance when describing things is so important in writing--it's like Goldilock's and the 3 Bears; you have to find just the right amount. :D Good luck in the challenge!

    Kat Morrisey @ Lost & Found in Fiction

  17. That's a good idea for practicing description. =)

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author