Descriptive DetailsWritten by Carol Rice
Writing your story with descriptive details
Details can be the difference between an engaging story and one that is passively read and rarely picked up again.
Ironically, no matter what your selected audience, a story with the most specific detail will have the broadest general appeal. Use specific nouns that name the subject in particular. Use the word daffodil, instead of flower, or kiwi, instead of fruit. Use vivid verbs which give energy to the action in the sentence. Use well-chosen adjectives and adverbs; they will bring color to your sentences. Effective word choice is the key to providing descriptive details. (The Back to Basics articles offer tips on word choice under Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives and Adverbs.)
One tool for gathering details is a five senses organizer. Grouping your observations or memories, by use of your five senses, is a way to unearth details you may have forgotten. This chart can be useful in helping you describe the specifics of any occasion or event.
Gather the descriptive details of the five senses, and include them as you write. We all want to see beautiful pictures, hear enchanting sounds, smell clean air, taste good food, and touch the ones we love.
Bring the details of the five senses into your story, and it will become a favorite story among those you share it with.
I grew up in a home rich with family heritage. My mom loved genealogy and knew how to breathe life into dusty documents and color to faded black and white photos - my mom told me stories.
As a grown woman with five children of my own, I've tried to do the same. For years I did it through scrapbooking. But it didn't take long to realize that it wasn't my artistic skills my children really cared about. They never stopped on a page and said, "Mom, you matched that paper to my shirt - perfectly!" Nope. What they did say as they leaned across my lap, pointing at photos is, "Tell me the story!" "Tell me mom about the day I was born... Tell me mom about the day I cried when everyone sang me happy birthday... Tell me mom about my grandma and her garden..."
Don't worry if you haven't done it forever, just start today. The consistency and cumulative effect of one good question - just sharing one story a day, adds up.
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