This is an article I found on the BBC – Get Writing website, written by Sue Chester. I took out the exercises and etc, focusing mainly on the content. If you’d like to see the original article, click here. It’s a pretty long article, so reader beware:
For the last few weeks I’ve been on a journey through the Caribbean. It was very cheap. Gabriel Garcia Marquez took me there personally for less than a tenner in Love in the Time of Cholera.
The setting of a novel is integral to the story. It’s the stage set where the action takes place, the unifying factor where the plot unfolds and where the characters develop. Not just the geographical backdrop, setting is also reflected in time and place. Time could mean the time of day, the season, the future, past or present. Place can mean anything from the specific geographical location to a house, kitchen, car, football stadium, a Swiss ski slope or a Norfolk beach.
Description is the first port of call when it comes to creating your setting, lifting your readers into a vivid, imaginary world that rings true and feels real – exactly why I enjoyed reading Marquez. A good descriptive passage isn’t just a random list of what was in the landscape or in the room, but has enough striking and original detail to paint an image of the scene.
So what makes description work? It’s a combination of observation, detail, imagination and creating a sensory experience for the reader; all through use of the writer’s kit – nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and figurative language.
Before you describe anything you need to really observe the world around you, just as a fine artist would when painting. If you haven’t properly looked and absorbed, how can you describe to others with enough accuracy and intensity to hold their interest?Read More →