Shoring up weak spots

Description is Written Enemy Number 1 in my world.

Part of the problem is that I don’t like to read books that are heavy on description. I loved the plot of Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword, but when she was describing everything in Corlath’s tent down to the etching on the handle of the tea cup . . . get me to the fighting, please!

I know not everyone is that way. I have two fabulous writing buddies in particular who write gorgeous descriptions, and they’re always great at encouraging more description on my part. It’s not something that comes easily to me, and I need all the help I can get.

Description is a necessary part of writing well, though the depth of description depends greatly on your patience with it. If you need a little practice with it, take up this week’s writing challenge:

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Take a look around you and write a description of what’s there–not just what you see with your eyes, but what you smell, hear, feel. Get into what it makes you think of, too–memories, hopes, people, etc.

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How do you feel about description? Are you into reading pages and pages of it? Do you tend to over-describe or under-describe in your writing?

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It’s a dangerous business, going out your door.

It’s Monday again already? I spent the past couple of weeks in California, then returned home just in time to throw together a craft table for a church activity and then transform into a bearded lady for a murder mystery. I’m ready to sleep for a few solid days now.

But first, the writing prompt. I’m going to continue with the setting practice, since I got a lot of response from people like me who really struggle with getting the setting balanced in their novel. And, in the spirit of all the traveling I’ve been doing . . .

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Take a point in your story where a character is traveling, whether it’s a long or a short journey. Describe not only what your character sees, but also how it makes her feel, what it reminds him of, the emotions evoked.

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I see, said the blind man . . .

I have a major setting problem. I see everything clearly in my head, but I’m not great at remembering to put it out there for the reader to see as well. This is why I really love my writerly friends who will critique my work, because about half of their comments are along the lines of, “Emily! Stop dialoguing and start describing!” My next draft after it comes back from my readers is generally a process of inserting setting and description all throughout the book.

Thus this week’s prompt:

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Take a prominent setting in your book and describe it in detail through the eyes of one of your characters.

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Monday Nostalgia

It’s an early start for me this morning, with edits to send off today and a classroom visit tomorrow to prepare for, so I thought I’d get the writing prompt out early.

As a reminder, here’s what happens:

1. I post the prompt on Monday.
2. You post a link to your response in the comments or send in your response to bumblesbooks at gmail dot com.
3. I post my favorites on Friday, possibly along with my own excerpt.

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Find a place that fills one of your characters with nostalgia. Write a brief scene showing why that place is so important to him or her.

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Looking forward to your responses!