One of the most important parts to a good story.
Some do it well. Some can’t fathom the concept.
I’ve come across some really crappy books and I’m pretty sure we all have. You know the books I’m talking about. The ones where the guy is always described as “tall with dark hair and a charming smile” or the girl “short with lovely golden hair and red lips”. These aren’t terrible for descriptions. But I love it when a story takes it to a whole new level. Describes things with an air of originality and honesty.
I recently just read a book by Ken Bruens. I’d found a review for the book The Guard online and decided to try it. From first glance, I could tell it was the type of book I’d immediately put back on the shelf. It was written in the narrative and a lot of the sentences were like “I dunno if he saw but…” or in short phrases.
But I continued to read because somehow the book had caught my interest. And it continued to hold it. All the way to the very end.
After reading it, I was glad I picked it up. I loved it. But I’m not here to give a book review. I wanted to point out that Ken’s writing style and voice in the book was fresh and original. I realized the reason he incorrect grammar in some of the sentences was because that was how the character talked. The description given of the little town in Ireland and the people were realistic. I could visualize the scenes as if I were standing in the street myself. They’re damn near perfect with a twist of grit and humor.
I know, openly admit, that my descriptions aren’t always the best. It takes practice. It takes patience and most of all persistence. The more you pour over your manuscript the more irritating it becomes things don’t always jump out at you and then the words begin to blur all together.
Truth. Depth. Perception. Allow you to accurately describe things. I always love following the example of Sherlock Holmes. Look at things from a different angle. Holmes had a sharp eye that could perceive just about anything. I think to write a good story we need a bit of Holmes and Watson. Holmes could see the tiniest of details. Watson had the gift of imagination and creativity. Not that Holmes didn’t have some amount of imagination. He had to have at some amount to think up the solutions, yet he was very precise. Too precise and logical. Creative tastes some random boldness. An effort to step outside the boundaries of logic.
Descriptions are part of writing’s poetry, but don’t over think it. They’re descriptions. Color to the story and just that.