6 Ways To Practice Descriptive Writing

The words don’t always flow well when we sit down to write. Sometimes we have to start off working on a creative writing prompt, take a walk, or even just sit back and sip on our coffee for a moment.

Then we hope some sort of idea will come to us sooner rather than later.

Or if we already have the idea in our hand, but we’re not entirely how to paint that picture worth 1,000 words for our readers.

6 Ways to Practice Descriptive Writing

1. Practice different scenerios

Cooking dinner? Take in your sights and smells and even your taste later on. Describe what you’re cooking, the ingredients, how your counter looks, what’s in the sink, etc. Paint your whole kitchen based on that one meal. Mostly likely, not all that description will be needed, but the practice is fun.

2. Look up creative writing prompts

If you type “descriptive writing” into Google, you’re most likely going to get prompts for essays or anything else academic, if not elementary school level. Still, there are plenty of creative writing prompts that cater to such writing. You can also twist other writing prompts to make them more your own and cater to your needs as well.

3. Read and rewrite

Read books. Seeing different styles may help you want to try something new. Sometimes, if you think a certain scene could be better, rewrite it. No one has to see it, but it’s a good start.

4. Try a mystery box

Okay, this sounds like something you would do at school, but it helps, trust me. Have someone put items into a box without telling you what they are. Reach into the box and feel around. Write about what you feel and what you think is in the box. Maybe give your description to someone else who didn’t know what was in the box and see if they can guess what it is. This totally sounds like a great party game… am I right?

5. Take a look at other peoples houses

This one may sound weird, but take note of the decor of other houses. Go on real estate websites and look up different styles and such. See what you like and don’t like, describe them all, and change anything you want.

6. Pinterest

Pinterest is your friend. From eye and hair color to what that little plastic piece on the end of your shoelace is called, Pinterest has great info-graphics and lots of information that you thought you’d never need.

What are some ways you practice descriptive writing? Or any kind of creative writing? Let me know in the comments below!

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How To Write Characters With Unique Sensory Quirks

We all have issues. We all have quirks. It’s part of what makes us human.

Therefore, our characters should have quirks too.

How to write characters with unique sensory quirks

What exactly is a quirk?

A quirk is an unusual behavior, an out of the ordinary habit. If it was something everyone did, then it wouldn’t exactly be a “quirk.” But I’m not saying no two people can share the same quirk. We all have our likes and dislikes.

But, for the sake of descriptive writing, I’m going to stick with sensory quirks.

And I’m going to talk a lot about myself, so I won’t blame you if you decide to leave now.

What’s a sensory quirk?

I don’t even know if this is a real thing or if I made it up, but I’m going to pretend it is for the sake of this post.

A sensory quirk is just what it sounds like. A quirk that has to do with your senses. Or you could just say you have sensory issues. Because I do. Big time.

Examples?

1. Chalk

A lot of other people might agree with me on this one. I don’t like the feeling of chalk. I don’t like the feeling of it when I scrap it against the pavement or wall. I don’t like how it gets underneath my fingernails.

This is something I used to love. I played with chalk a lot when I was a kid. When I started working in preschools, my appreciation for chalk shrunk. The kids would as me all the time to play chalk with them and I would agree because… Well, that’d just be mean otherwise. I’d hold the chalk in between my index finger and thumb and barely put any pressure on it when coloring.

Why? I don’t even know. There’s just something about the feeling of chalk that makes me cringe.

2. Socks

Others may be able to relate to this one as well, especially if you have young kids. The seams of the socks (or as I call it, “the line across the toes”) are awful. They bother me. I don’t have any explanation why, they just do.

And, I prefer knee socks. I look ridiculous, but I love them. I can wear ankle socks, but I pull them up as far as they can go. They stretch out and then I get holes. (I go through a lot of socks.)

They also feel too loose on me, which is why I think I pull them up so far. I don’t know why that bothers me, but it does.

3. Toothpaste

I don’t like the taste of toothpaste. It’s all gross. I like mint, but even the mint is yucky to me. But it’s something you have to do, so I suck it up.

What really bothers me is the feeling of it on my teeth. I don’t like the feeling of the brush gliding over my teeth and I don’t like the sound it makes in my head. Brushing my teeth is the worst part of my day, every day.

4. Lettuce

I’ve saved the weirdest for last. I don’t like lettuce. I’m not a huge fan of the taste, but that’s not why. I mean, lettuce doesn’t really have a taste anyway.

No, it’s because of the crunch. Yes, you read that right.

I love everything crunchy. Chips, croutons, graham crackers, regular crackers, anything. But I can’t stand the sound (or the feeling) of lettuce crunching in my mouth. Why? No idea.

In conclusion…

A sensory quirk can literally be anything. I mean, if lettuce bothers me, then you can find something ridiculous for your character.

It adds a little more depth to your character and makes them a little more real, as strange as it is.

Do you have any strange quirks? Have you given any to your characters? Let me know in the comments below!

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How To Write Believable Characters Without All 5 Senses

It’s not every day we come across a person who doesn’t have all 5 of their senses. Some people are blind, some are deaf, and some are both. Some people have anosmia (no sense of smell), ageusia (no sense of taste), or both.

I have all my 5 senses, so it’s hard to imagine having only 4 or 3 of those senses. And I’m amazed at the people who go through life without all 5 senses simply. Yes, it’s something they have to do, have to get used to and live with, but we, as human beings, tend to take everything for granted.

If someone is born without, for example, sight or hearing they don’t know how different world could be. They live in the same world but view it differently and they live their lives just like everyone else.

But if someone loses a sense or two throughout the course of their life, whether they’re a teenager or adult, whether it’s from an accident or an illness, losing that can take a toll on a person. It can be a little isolating or even depressing.

And I know all this from people I’ve met in the past, from reading memoirs, and from doing research. Even though I “know it,” that doesn’t mean I understand it. Honestly, I could never understand it, simply because I can’t imagine how it would feel like to not be able to taste anything.

That’s why it’s so important, as writers, to write believable characters.

How to write believable characters without all five senses | descriptive creative writing

Why is this important?

Diversity.

When you think of diversity, you tend to think of race or ethnicity, etc. It’s not often we think of a disability, whether it’s physical or mental. People who don’t have all five senses are more common than not.

Not only will you be adding diversity to your characters, but you’ll be writing your story in a whole new way. You can’t describe a telephone ringing when you’re writing a character who can’t hear. Or maybe they have hearing aids and can hear a little, but it’s still not the same.

So, how do you write a character without all 5 senses?

Not without 100% accuracy. Still, there are many ways you can research how to write it all out.

  • Read books – The library is your friend
  • Google – The Internet is a vast place
  • Interviews – Talk to people with these impairments and also to their teachers, family, and friends as well. Get the point of view of everyone.
  • Teach yourself – Research Braille, American Sign Language, etc. Get a feel for what it’s like to talk with your hands. It’ll make it easier to describe.

In conclusion…

There are many ways to learn about such a thing, just like how you research everything else you don’t know about or don’t understand.

There are some things you can never understand fully, but it doesn’t hurt to do some research and try your best.

Have you written any characters without all 5 senses? How did you go about it? Let me know in the comments below!

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What Is Descriptive Writing?

There are many different kinds of writing, descriptive writing being one of them. Pretty much everything I found on descriptive writing talked about essay writing or academic writing.

Descriptive writing is important for any kind of writing, but we’ll stick to creative writing for now.

What Is Descriptive Writing?

What is descriptive writing?

Descriptive writing is when you give a clear and vivid description of a person, place, or thing in your writing. It can be in separate paragraphs and sentences or woven into the narration. Descriptive writing is supposed to help the readers visualize everything as though they’re in the story themselves.

How can you use descriptive writing?

There are many different clever ways you can weave descriptive writing into your story.

Figurative Language

Used to show imagery, figurative language uses metaphors, similes, personification, etc. Pretty much the basics of the English language that you learned about in school. These can be used to describe people and places. Comparing and making connections from one thing to the next as well as adding a little more depth to objects (personification, for example).

Organization

It can be spewed out in blocks of paragraphs or it can be woven into the narration. The narration, in my opinion, is the way to go. Sometimes it can look like info-dumping if you go on too long with certain description. It can be tricky, but you want the description to flow nicely in between everything else.

Sensory

Readers and writers alike all have something in common and that’s our five senses. For the most part, we can all see, hear, touch, taste, and smell, or have some sort of combination of those five senses. Using the five senses in our writing adds more depth to the story rather than just ink sitting on the surface of a page. It doesn’t help to use them all at once all the time, but it still adds that little extra to the story.

But we’ll touch upon that more throughout the month.

How do you add the description into your novels? Let me know in the comments below!

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The Famous Cliche And Other Writing Things

Guests appear on my blog twice a month. If you would like to know more about this, please visit my Guest Bloggers Wanted page.

Today’s post is brought to you by Ruby. Thanks, Ruby!

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Writing is hard, harder for some more then others, but even for them it’s hard.

You can have all these problems, writers block for instance, I’m absolutely positive that this happens to all writers, there’s no denying it. It may be that you are stuck on how to describe a character, setting or feeling. I often find that I spend a lot of time working out how I’m going to help readers see what I’ve been imagining. As it is your work they won’t know unless you set the scene for them.

My biggest advice for you, although it might be obvious anyway, clichés. Ah, the marvellous cliché, for example: love triangles. Now, I’m not saying don’t include them, just try to make them original somehow.

In a lot of dystopian books you’ll find that the protagonist is often ‘the chosen one.’ Again, I’m not saying don’t ever use that idea, just don’t have it be the same as other books you’ve read or heard about.

There are also the similes, those extremely cliché similes, the ones everyone uses: dark as the night, as white as snow, as quiet as a mouse. You want to use them (especially when you have writers block) but sometimes most of the time, you are better off not to use them.

Cliché, to me, means ‘a phrase or situation that is so commonly used that one often expects it,’ I very much doubt you want you work to be predictable, do you?

Moving on, when you are trying to describe a feeling though words it can often be hard, there are some authors, I find that can make it like you are the character that is feeling those things, you can almost feel the pain or hurt or happiness that they are gong through. It’s not easy to do this, but I think – as with most things – that if you practice enough you will become better. I’m not saying perfect, I hate that saying ‘practice makes perfect’ because no one will ever be perfect at anything. Yes, they may be amazing and talented, but there’s always room to improve. Oh, look how cliché I’m being.

Progress. Progress is the word you should be using, ‘practice makes progress.’ I always seem to discover that I am awful at describing how things look but can describe feelings easily.

I wrote this the other day:

“She dived head-first into the pool of ice-cold water. The feeling spread though her body one limb at a time. It hit her head first, it was backbreaking and freezing. She ached with numbness, the feeling seeping throughout her, turning her blood to ice and slowly, slowly freezing over her heart. She felt it sharp stabbing pains, as if there was a sharp, jagged shard of ice slicing through her skin. She was a lost cause, she meant nothing to the world any more. Nothing.”

I’m sorry it’s not very cheery, but then what is?

Do you have any tips for descriptive writing?

Did you enjoy Ruby’s post? Let us know in the comments below!

In other news, I’ve challenged myself to read five books between Sunday, February 19 and Sunday, February 26. Feel free to join me and check out my daily updates on Twitter, Tumblr, and my Bookstagram!

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