Writing Good Descriptions
Jul 26, 2013 Writing 1774 Views
Basically, you use the adjectives. You describe people, places, and events. You describe something - a ring, its shape, its color or carat. You have to be keen and deep of thought.
The purpose of your descriptive details, however, should be to create a dominant mood or point for your readers. Such descriptions should contribute to the overall purpose of the essay or story. Avoid clichés. Avoid details that are irrelevant.
Take note of Walden Pond. How did Thoreau let us feel the meaning of solitude? This is a delicious evening, when the whole body is one sense and imbibes delight through every pore. What about Trees by Joyce Kilmer? A tree that looks at God all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray... And Machleish's Ars Poetica, a poem should be palpable and mute as a globed fruit.
Use your five senses. Use the different literary devices. However, be careful as to what to include and what to leave out. Remember the "Show Don't Tell," concept.
Look at following lines.
"Such solitary titans, flinging their green tons down upon a quiet world, shake beach and dune" (The Headlong Wave by Henry Beston).
"Everybody in our family has different hair. My Papa's hair is like a broom, all up in the air. And me, my hair is lazy.
My mother's hair like little rosettes, like candy circles... " (Hairs by Sandra Cisneros).
Tony Perez (noted playwright and creative writing professor) asserts to his students "Write from the heart!" Moments of writing must be honest. Dr. Isagani R. Cruz says, "Essays must be candid." Professor Bisa points out, "Good descriptions should be fresh as the writer's ideas."
How? Why? Which descriptions to use? Before, those were my question tags, seeking every author or teacher's advice.
"Make one beautiful sentence," I remember Dr. Marjorie Evasco, in her tactful smile.
Check these examples.
A Specific Sunset
It was cold. Between two breasts of mountains, light comes to peep, slowly rising, yellow.
A Portrait of My Dad
My Dad is a man of courage with strong back, of clean nails and tender hands, of well-combed hair and Old Spice, of red lips and heart so wise.
Here is a praying man in images.
I love you where there is no light, but the moon, which I mean in darkness and awe; where there is no one to hold, but the ground, which I mean kissing the ground in prayer; when there is no one to listen, but the sky, which I mean raising the hands in prayer; when nothing stays, but a cross, to me come nigh, which I mean in trouble, but with God alone.
The experience must be alive and concrete as the feeling and light the words convey to the readers, as the point of the texts describing, "How it's like? or "How it is!"