Monday, December 2, 2013

Writing Tip- Simply Put

How do you explain something you have never seen, that has never been, that never will be? How do you make it live and breath? How to make it feel?


It is always tempting to over explain, over describe what you want the reader to see, especially if it is something you made up yourself. It is not because you are bad at writing, but that it, what ever it is, is so ingrained and implanted in your writing spirit that you want the read to see and feel it just as you do.

Ocean wave ~ By Sad
But over describing can ruin the effect that you were going for.

I was struck with this realization the other day while reading Goddess Tithe by Anne Elizabeth Stengl. In the novella, she has to describe the goddess, a creature of the sea. One description has stuck with me ever since. One sentence, "The sea was her hair", in the midst of many, but I still remember it. What was so powerful about it? That in the middle of an action scene, the first glimpse of the goddess, it manages to describe so much with so little.

In few words, it told me exactly what I needed to know.

I could see the waves, billowing and flowing as hair, sea spray flying. And all because Anne Elisabeth was able to set up what the sea meant. It was chaos and fright, beauty and mystery.

Sometimes to wax eloquently about your subject is needed, to give a detailed description. But art comes when you know when to say nothing at all.


  1. Good post. I agree. :) But we need to be careful not to under-describe. ;) I've seen that a lot in novels too.

    Stori Tori's Blog

    1. It can be an issue, but I often see that people tend to over describe more.