Amazing Kids! Magazine

It’s All in the Details

By Sophie Nadel, Writer’s Tips Editor

 

The best descriptions come with the smallest of details, and the best details come with lots of practice! It can be really difficult to come up with fresh and original-sounding images that your readers will enjoy in your stories, but pulling off an excellent description is definitely worth it. Luckily, there are plenty of easy and fun ways to practice using unique language to capture even the tiniest facet of an object. Try some of these exercises to keep your images crystal clear!

Examine, examine, examine!

The most important part of learning how to write details is to actually look at the object you’re trying to describe. If you’re writing about a leaf or a certain toy you have, it should be easy to pick up the object and observe it. Jot down details in a notebook or a journal. Use as many of your senses as you can while describing it: Use your eyes to illustrate it visually; use your nose to detail its scent; use your fingers to describe the texture. There are so many aspects that you can record. However, if you have to describe something that you don’t have and cannot find, you might have a little bit more difficulty. For example, if you are writing a scene that takes place in a jungle and you live in the city, you might not have a visual of what your scene should look like. Luckily, the internet is a vital tool. Search for images of a jungle online and describe the pictures you see. Unfortunately, for this tactic, you can only accurately use your sense of sight, but don’t hesitate to let your imagination make up for the other senses!

Use Metaphors and Similes

There are a limited amount of adjectives in the English language, and sometimes, you might not be able to find the perfect words for the object of your description. Don’t fret; there is another way! Comparisons, like metaphors and similes, are excellent ways to draw a picture with words. A simile uses the words “like” or “as” to make a comparison while a metaphor does not. An example of a simile would be “the pen’s ink ran like a river onto my page,” while using a metaphor would look like, “the pen’s ink was a river onto my paper.” With a simple comparison of ink to a river, the reader can clearly see the pen writing. I believe that these strategies are far more impactful than saying simply, “the pen’s ink ran quickly.” Choose a few items near you and try to write a comparison to describe it!

Make it a Game

If you gather some friends together, practicing writing descriptions can be a game! Everyone should think of an object. It can be anything, in the room with you or otherwise. Then, take about ten minutes to free write. During this time, participants should describe their objects in as much detail as possible without actually referring to it by name. After the timer rings, each participant shares his or her description with the group. Whoever can guess the object wins the round!

Descriptions are a challenging yet necessary component of writing. Complicated illustrations can be discouraging, but the more you practice, the more you will improve. In no time at all you will be able to describe anything!

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