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How to be Descriptive in a Few Easy Steps

Updated on March 29, 2011

The Art of Description

One of the most difficult parts of writing consists of describing what you see in your mind. Some use their imagination, but not to their full extent. No one wishes to read a passage of pure boredom that begs the reader to drool on the pages. For example, take this passage.

They walked through the hillside every afternoon. Sometimes they rode though often they walked. Their fine clothes in the dirt.

Not very interesting, but say we add a few details. Editing this passage into something more of excitement.

Her golden hair shone even brighter in the sun light, bouncing curls falling to her waist. Lips, feathering under her poised noise, blushed a gorgeous shade of red. Shocking of all were her eyes, the color of the sea. Blue and green mixed together to create the most appealing eyes ever seen. Her figure, the perfect hourglass, remained fit and healthy. Aisha, a true wonder, the star of the city of Vinlise. She rode, fine and proud, of her stature and beauty. Suitors visited daily, like the one with her now. 

It might be noticed that I didn't even brush on the views of the hillside or of the male and it is still more imaginative than the first passage.  


 There are so many different colors to choose from. Not just red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Think of something interesting. Sparkling, golden rain, silver streaked, blood red, forest green, lime, sky blue, dull violet. Use something most people would not think of.


 People don't read novels for the same boring stories, the same plots, or the same characters. Spice the story up a bit. Add twists and turns, but don't make them a painful 90 degree turn or they won't be able to keep up with the story. Think outside of the box but inside the story.

For example, the new Indiana Jones movie cause quite an uproar. Why? The screen writers added aliens to the script throwing the main character that we know and love, into a slightly different view point. Yes, Jones always battled strange beliefs and villans. However they all had to do with European religion, not something literally "out of this world".

Descriptive Questions to Ask Yourself

  •  What color is this object?
  • What shape is the object?
  • Does this fit with the time frame?
  • How will the character respond to this?
  • How will I show that the character is responding, but not telling?
  • Are there patterns?
  • Are there designs?
  • What do they look like?
  • What are their facial features?
  • Is there a shadow?
  • How to show the dark side of their surroundings?
  • Where to bring in this idea?
  • How big is the room?
  • What is around them?
  • What are the little details?


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