Exercises to Make Your Writing Descriptive
“Show don’t tell.” The mantra of writing instructors all over the world. If you have taken a class on writing, creative or not, chances are you have heard those words. Easier said than done right?
When we speak it is to get a message across but often writing has a different job. To take the reader on a journey. So with this in mind we must learn how to play to our readers senses and make our writing jump off of the page. We must show, not tell what we are trying to say.
For example, say you are talking about how you got home one day and someone had decorated for Christmas, there are two ways you can go about it.
I opened the front door to a room full of tinsel and red ornaments, the tree was lit in the corner and from the kitchen came the smell of Christmas cookies.
As I opened the front door my nose was filled with the spicy sent of gingerbread mixed with fresh evergreen; my sparkle of tinsel and the vibrant red ball handing on the tree in the corner reminded me that Christmas was just around the corner.
Both ways work but with the second sentence it is easy for the reader to feel as if they are there experiencing the setting along with the narrator. It’s not always easy to be able to do this but the only way to get better is to practice.
Here are five journal prompts that stir creativity and work the writing muscle so that showing will always happen before you are tempted to tell.
- In no less than 100 words describe your favorite color.
- Think back to who your favorite person as a child was. What did they smell like?
- What are you wearing right now? How do you feel in it?
- Explain what the last thing you ate tasted like. Don’t say what it was.
- Go out side and find a rock. Generate fifteen words or phrases to describe that rock.