I made up some challenges to improve my writing and boost my creativity. Could these help you, too? I’ll share another next week.
Spice Up Your Descriptions
First, pick an object. Describe it in plain language. Don’t get fancy yet.
I’ll use this red ball as an example:
Next, underline the nouns, adjectives, and verbs (if you have any) in your description. Here, we have “red” and “ball”.
Now, describe the object 5-10 more times. The catch is you must use different words each time. You can’t reuse any of them. Use a thesaurus if you have to.
- A crimson sphere
- A scarlet orb
- A ruby-colored globule
Yes, these could get crazy, but that’s the point. Go nuts with it!
How to Apply Them to Your Writing
The goal of this challenge is to make your descriptive writing more vivid, but be careful. Not every scene needs a lot of flare. Here’s an example:
Emily picked up the red ball and threw it at Jordan.
Boring. Let’s use stronger verbs:
Emily snatched up the red ball and lobbed it at Jordan.
That’s better. But if we use one of our descriptions from the game, we’ll drift into purple prose territory:
Emily snatched up the ruby-colored globule and lobbed it at Jordan.
Um, no. “Red ball” is enough in this scene. Heck, do we need to know it’s red? Not really. So we could say:
Emily snatched up the ball and lobbed it at Jordan.
There we go. ? It’s also shorter, which enhances the sense of speed. A longer sentence would slow the action down. I’ll talk about that in a future post.
A Pinch of Seasoning
When do we use our fancier descriptions? They work better when we need to paint a specific picture in the reader’s mind, evoke a certain emotion, or emphasize something symbolic. We could say:
The cat glared at her with its red eyes.
Accurate, but too basic. We wanna draw attention to the cat’s eyes to heighten the spookiness of the scene. How about this?
The cat glared at her, its eyes two scarlet orbs, almost pupilless.
See? Better, right? Or we could ditch the word “orbs”:
The cat glared at her, its scarlet eyes almost pupilless.
Not bad either. You just have to move words around until you make the strongest combo.
Try this challenge out and let me know what you think!