Describing places and people is so much fun. We can build these wonderful characters and make them so real to the reader. But it’s easy to fall into the trap of explaining instead of showing.
Let me give you an example of what I mean:
- The brunette peered into the mirror. Her red lips that had a natural pout to them, and her big green eyes were the talk of every man she passed. Her skin was flawless. She wore a purple shirt of the finest quality. Her jeans were the perfect cut for her figure.
- The road was covered with heavy, overgrown oak trees. The grass had a faded appearance at the edge of the shadows leading to the trees. A house sat just beyond the little dip in the drive at the end of the trees.
You can picture this lady and the scene with ease, yet it’s a bit flat. It sounds okay at first glance, but look deeper. This kind of surface writing dulls your work and slows the pace of the storyline.
Want to see an improvement? How about this?
- Jack studied the brunette. “Those pouty lips and big green eyes aren’t going to get you my tickets. You should’ve gotten here earlier.”
Well it might work on any other man she passed, but he was different.
She drew close to him. “Come on. The ticket holder promised them to me. I…I couldn’t get here sooner.”
He tried to ignore the plea in her eyes, and did his best not to trail her figure with his eyes. Her well cut jeans and very tailored shirt didn’t mean a thing to him. “Sorry.”
- Brenna hunched low as she passed under the low tree line then laughed at herself and shook her head. Fear had no place in her mind right now. Yet she couldn’t deny the death of the grass as it edged toward the drive her little Pinto crawled over.
A glimpse of white indicated the house that seemed to move further away as she pushed the vehicle forward.
It’s as simple as putting your descriptions into action. Make them visible through another’s eyes as seen with Jack. Or show them by using action words to dictate what the reader is seeing.
So have fun with your writing. Find ways to bring it alive and entice readers to keeping reading using this simple technique.
As some of you know, I’ve been in the process of moving for months now. One thing after another has deterred, held up, and lengthened the time to closing. It’s so easy to get frustrated and upset when things keep going wrong, but I’ve learned a very important lesson from this episode in my life. Keep looking to God. Stop trying to make it work in my time and my way. Return to the peace and inner joy God has for me even through uncertain times.
This concept also applies to our writing. When we get to the end of a manuscript, we want to write it off as finished. Yes, it has to pass through some editing phases, but we writers try to minimize that part of the work. Sometimes our writing needs to be moved around. Whether it’s a chapter or a scene, it’s hard to face that our work isn’t always complete.
There have been times I crossed my arms and shook my head at the computer. Move things around?! Now that’s a cuss word in the making after what I’ve been through. Like moving, changing our manuscript can be a long ordeal. It’s painful to cut and remold some of the work we’ve done. Yet, once we sit down and sort through the boxes, we can see where things need to go in the new format. We can rebuild in a better way.
Be encouraged. I bet most of us would say that it was worth the pain and grueling work when it’s over. So press on and cut and move and remold your WIP. You’ll be glad you did.
I love to find new authors who write Christian fiction. It’s so exciting to discover a gem you didn’t know existed, one that makes you stay up well past your bedtime because you can’t put their book down. Last month, I started one of Linda J. White’s books and I couldn’t put it down.
I had the opportunity to meet this author at a conference this year, and purchased Bloody Point at a book signing. When I turned to the first page of Linda’s book I couldn’t wait to delve into the work of someone I’d met. I love suspense, and this novel was in that category. From the first page, I knew I wasn’t getting any sleep that night. I’m a night owl by nature, so it was no surprise to me that the fast pace of this storyline was going to keep me up.
Right away, I liked the characters and cared what happened to them. To my writing friends, we all know how important it is that our characters are likeable. I was intriqued by the back story to Cassie McKenna, the main character.
The detail Linda used to show the community at marinas and life aboard a ship was new to me. I had no before hand knowledge, yet she made it all so easy to imagine. And the insight into FBI protocol and work was also intriguing and very realistic.
This fast-paced novel won five out of five stars with me. If you haven’t had an opportunity to read any of her books, it’s well worth your time.