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  • Writer's pictureEli Allison

Writing Transformation: Description

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

Want to improve your writing but unsure where to start?

Then you've come to the right place. I've created this blog series where I show you a before and after of my very own writing talking you through my changes.

How to write Description like a boss

Descriptive writing can be a way of transporting your reader but also hammering home theme, showing emotion and not telling and good old foreshadowing. And since description is basically a novelist bread and butter you'd better learn when to slap it on and when to scrape it off. (This is a slap it on event.)

Take this week's transformation; a passage from a short story where the theme was 'An Unknown Future' and I decided, (not very originally), to use the symbolism of 'the end of summer' to represent this. Hence why she's in a field of wheat that's ready to be harvested, (she's meeting someone, but that's unimportant). When picking settings for scenes don't just think about what's interesting but what will also help cermet your theme to your reader.

To make the prose even more layered I've littered this particular passage (not the whole story, that would be exhausting) with 'sea' refs as well because the sea is vast and unknowing like the future...

Warning: this is lyrical, poetic writing to the max. Not my normal style at all but I have turned everything up to eleven so you can easily see what I'm on about.

1st Draft


Final Draft

The trick, with description is to create enough detail to conjure magic , but not too much that it becomes a slog confusing the reader. So when when writing descriptive passages remember.

Good writing does one thing well. Great writing does many things.

Round up

Think about all the senses but don't go mad.

Be clear and sharp, what's the point of a beautiful metaphor if it's buried under a metric ton of 'fluff'. Trust yourself but most importantly trust that your readers will see it, get it, and love it.

Make your writing do double time by using words that speak to mood, setting as well as to the senses.

Think about the themes of your work and how you can incorporate those ideas into the text with visual symbolism.

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