How To Write Beautiful Descriptions

By on September 10, 2020

Describing the world in your story is so important. Beautiful, vivid, compelling descriptions create a sense of place and let the reader in. The way you describe the setting will allow your reader to visualize the world in their mind's eye and also fully immerse themselves in it. In short, getting your descriptions right is pretty important.

So how do you find the perfect words to describe your setting to ensure that you paint a vivid image, while also convincing your reader that this world is real and tangible? Here are some useful tips.

Don't delay

Your reader needs to be able to imagine where your characters are from the outset. So don't wait to describe the place and the world and what they can see around them. You need to start early. A common mistake is to launch excitedly into a scene without grounding the reader first. You need to add descriptive material from the outset, otherwise, the scene will feel placeless, and this will put readers off, even if you do add in some detail later.

Get specific

Writing detailed descriptions is all about being careful with your language and choosing specific words and phrases that help to conjure up images for your reader. If you are vague or imprecise, it will be difficult for readers to do this. Take the opening of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, for example. 

'Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs.'

He chooses super precise descriptions, he gives his readers all the help they need to step into his world and believe that they are there in it too. Don't be generic; instead focus on exactly what you are trying to capture and find those precise words that work to do just that. 

Be selective

Don't confuse being precise with describing everything you see. While it can be very tempting to share absolutely everything going on in the surrounding areas, this will quickly become overwhelming, if not boring, for your reader. Select arresting and necessary details to create a sense of place. Remember, you are trying to evoke a particular atmosphere, not overload your reader with information. 

Use the senses

Remember, we have lots of different senses, and we are using them all the time. Make sure that your characters do the same. So don't just describe what they see; explain what they feel, taste, and smell as well. This will create a much richer and more lifelike picture for your reader to absorb. 

The following tips can help ensure that you create beautiful and exciting descriptions that work hard to satisfy your reader and allow them to get to know the world in which your characters reside. Without this, it will be like two actors talking in an empty white room. So make sure you pay attention to your descriptions as you write; your readers will thank you for it. 

bethany cadman
Bethany Cadman - bethanycadmancreates.com

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