. Strangely enough, Karen and I seem to be thinking along the same lines this week, although we in no way discussed our posts, and I only read hers when I came to post mine. Put it down to writer’s synchronicity.
I also want to talk to about describing things. As you may remember, I am terrible at describing things and places and people. So I decided that was one writing muscle I had to exercise. It’s like a dance step – lets say the Egyptian in belly dancing. It’s not my favourite step (though I don’t hate it), but it is useful to get from one place to another. I need to do it, to do the steps I love. When I started, I was terrible at the Egyptian, but I practiced and practiced, and now I can do it automatically. The same method ought to help me learn to write descriptions.
I came up with two exercises. (Or I subconsciously remembered them from a writing class. I’m not sure.)
The first is to go to a place – Trafalgar Square, a local coffee shop, even your bedroom. Sit down, make yourself comfortable, get our your writing things, and describe what you see. Not just a general description, but in detail. Really look. Observe, not see, as Sherlock Holmes would say. Describe colours and people and shadows and light. Set yourself a target – write a full page, or two. If on line, maybe use Write or Die to set yourself a word count to reach.
The other exercise involves seeing a place for only a moment – maybe glimpsed out of a bus window, or round a corner as you walk a city. Only a moment – then go home, and again aiming for a full page, describe what you remember. Close your eyes, see the scene in your mind, and write it.
Hopefully, these two exercises will get my description skills going, so when I see a place in my mind, I’ll be able to describe it properly, without struggling or getting stuck.