Let’s talk about trees.
Something interesting just happened to you. Right now. This moment.
When you read “trees,” an image of a tree or trees popped into your head. What was it?
When you write to describe something, you want to be specific. You DON’T want to write like this: “An animal darted in front of our car.”
Why not? After all, darted is a vivid verb that describes movement. That’s a good way to write—using vivid verbs.
Here’s where that sentence is weak: The word animal is not specific and will not give your readers any idea of what kind of animal you are writing about. Was it a cougar? A snake? A squirrel? An elk? Furry? Striped? Antlered? Winged?
When writers are not specific, readers have no image in their heads of what is going on. They cannot “see” the story.
The same thing is true with trees or really anything you are going to describe.
Sometimes, all you need is one or two words (adjectives or verbs). Is the woman tall? Is the baby bald and chunky? Does the garbage reek of rotted fish? Is the meadow dotted with happy, yellow flowers? Does the wind whisper or does it shout?
Now it’s your turn: Write two sentences to describe a tree. Let your readers get a specific idea in their heads about what kind of tree you are writing about. Give it some character, as well, in your description. Is it gnarled? Black-barked? Towering?
Do you enjoy the tree? Is it scary? Let readers know how they should feel about the tree, as well, by the words you use to describe it.
Copyright © 2015 by Sharon Watson
Photo credit: desert tree by Ed Gregory, Stokpic
Collage credit: © by Sharon Watson
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