Thursday, April 1, 2010

How To #2 - How to Master Descriptive Writing

How To #2 - How to Master Descriptive Writing
Essentially, a descriptive piece of writing uses words in fresh ways!
There is an element of surprise.
But avoid over-using descriptive words in one paragraph!
Overkill is cumbersome, even nauseating!
Here are some examples of descriptive expressions from
The Great Fire – Shirley Hazzard – (Winner of the Miles Franklin Award), Virago 2003

p.4 climate of family life

p.14 the fallen scraps of war
A crumpled linen man, a crumpled cast of a man.

p.19 the day dying in the wet window.

p.20 the gramophone bawling.

p.22 crystal morning

p.24 shabby darkness

p.65 Peter Exley looked down the green mountain to the town scribbled along the shore:

p.66 The July air was a blanket, summer weight.

p.67 The mirror, unreflecting, was like the draped pelt of some desiccated leopard.

p.104 oblique view of the sea

p.109 Indoor light was shrouded by elderly curtains.

p.114 the long orange afternoon

p.118 Only when the Equator had been crossed did he feel safe. There was Colombo now, and Bombay, Aden, Port Said: all the sacred places of pilgrimage, the stations of the Australian cross.

p.120 The Hong Kong evening, its air like broth, was charged with Asia’s unapologetic smells.

p.123 His father had, at most, tinkered with the parental role, taking it up sporadically like a neglected hobby and allowing it to lapse.

p.127 The wind that shook the car was fierce enough to be blowing islands along a steel horizon, as clouds across rough water.

p.131 They ordered cheese omelettes and disinfected salads, which came with brittle, noisy triangles of toast.

p.136 The city appeared to sway on its own silt.


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