The Weaving Word

Weaving together the threads that make up my passion for the written word…as an author, editor, and follower of The Word.

Motivate Me! Writing Prompt

FallsBecoming a great writer is a life-long pursuit that takes not only talent, but practice.  Lots and LOTS of practice.  The more you write, refine your work, and perfect your own unique voice, the better you become.  Writing prompts provide a great opportunity to beef up your writing skills with something fun and different.  They can also help with that dreaded bout of “writer’s block” that you just can’t seem to shake.

So with that in mind, I’m going to try to provide a new prompt every couple of weeks.  The purpose is to help writers improve their skills…and hopefully have fun while doing it.

(Since I’m just trying this out for the first time, please like these posts or comment if you find them helpful.)

This week’s prompt will focus on descriptive writing.  It tends to be the unsung hero of most books because the action always takes center stage.  Descriptions can be difficult to write effectively, and boring to read when badly done.  But without them your readers would feel pretty disoriented, lost in a sea of faceless, shapeless characters moving about in a barren void.  Fantasy writers in particular, I KNOW how long you spent envisioning that brand new world; the perfect setting for the story you are dying to tell.  But unless you describe it well, that place remains a vision that you alone can see.  No one will ever see your world on TV, or in photographs.  They will never be able to vacation there.  Your descriptive writing is their only link. So here is the prompt:

FlowersStep One:  Find a picture of a real place, or imagine one in your mind. In less than a page, describe it in detail, using as many of your senses as you can.  Let the emotions you associate with that place come through in the writing.  The idea is not to create a sterile, scientific catalog, but to allow someone else to see through your eyes, and feel what you feel.

Step Two:  Want to know how effective you were with your descriptive writing?  Find a partner or two.  Let them tell you what they see and feel after reading your description.   Did they see the same place, or are key elements missing? Could you get them inside your vision with just some well-placed words?  If your partner happens to be a writer too, swap stories and help each other.  You’ll learn a lot about what works and will keep improving.

 

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About weavingword

Allison D. Reid is a Christian Fantasy author with a fondness for Medieval history. Her first published series, the Wind Rider Chronicles, embraces traditional fantasy elements but is also infused with deeper spiritual themes. The first two books in the series, "Journey to Aviad" and "Ancient Voices: Into the Depths" can be found at Amazon and other online book retailers. "Journey to Aviad" is now FREE. Visit http://allisondreid.com/books-2/ to learn more.

2 comments on “Motivate Me! Writing Prompt

  1. leeduigon
    March 10, 2015

    When it comes to description, especially of people, I usually find that less is more. The way your characters speak and act will prompt the reader to generate his own mental pictures of them, probably more vivid than anything you could have said.

    As for the description of a place, one vivid line, or even one vivid phrase, is worth more than a whole page of details.

    At least, those are the guidelines I go by in my own books. Read one and see if I’m right.

    Like

    • weavingword
      March 10, 2015

      I totally agree that characters should, for the most part, speak for themselves. Authors do need to at least give some physical description so that readers have a foundation on which to build their own mental images. Once they have provided the essentials though, the best writers give readers the freedom to conceptualize through the lens of their own experiences. They relate so much more personally to the characters that way.

      When it comes to place description, there are definitely times when “less is more,” though length is not as critical as the caliber of the writing. There are amazing authors out there in both directions…some make longer descriptions work really well (brevity wasn’t Tolkien’s thing for sure), while others have a gift for creating breathtaking scenes in just a few short sentences. It just depends on what kind of writer you are. Both approaches take a whole lot of skill!

      Long descriptions need to stay focused, fresh, and interesting so that the reader doesn’t fall asleep or just skip past looking for more action. More concise writers need to learn how to make every word count, so that as you so eloquently said, one vivid line, or even one vivid phrase, can be worth more than a whole page of details. Vivid is key–the easy word choices just won’t be good enough to keep readers mesmerized.

      Thanks so much for commenting–it is great to hear what other writers think and learn from their experiences. I will definitely check out your page and will put your book on my reading wish list for summer : ) I have a couple more chapters to write before I can publish the second book in my series, and am making myself finish them before I start reading anything new.

      Liked by 1 person

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