Writing Type #2: Descriptive Writing

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This blog post will continue the previous post listing the four main writing types with the focus on descriptive writing. Did you keep a diary or journal at one time? Many longtime diary keepers now keep a journal. It just sounds a bit more “adult”. Think about an entry in one of your diaries or journals. Most often, in my experience, the topics in the entries revolve around a description of something, e.g. how am I feeling today, a conversation with a friend or family member, a wrong someone did to me or to someone I know, how I feel about the current world events, etc.

Let’s just choose one and do a short, faux journal entry, shall we? Here it goes:

January 10, 2021: This is the longest, coldest day of the year, so far. This morning, the temperature outside was -15 F., the 8 inches of snow on the ground is crusted with ice, the dogs’ feet froze before they could get their duties done outside and I’m stuck in bed sick with some bug or another. My body aches, my head is pounding, my nose is red…You get the idea.  This style includes the who, what, when, where, why and how of a topic, entry, poem, story, memoir, and many other genres of writing, including fiction and poetry.

Imagination here is key. Descriptive writing is far more entertaining if you move beyond the obvious word(s), such as my nose is red. There are more shades of red than I can count and I can certainly see a red nose in my mind’s eye. However, what comes to mind if the sentence reads something like this: My nose is bright red or my nose is scarlet? One word can change the image immensely and draw your reader’s emotions in. Anyone who has had a flu bug with a grossly runny nose that is bright red, raw and painful to blow can empathize with the writer thereby drawing them emotionally into the story. 

Let’s take a look at a dialogue and the descriptive style. “I have a horrible flu bug,” she said. Certainly, this gets the point across but try describing how she sounded when she said the statement. “I have a horrible flu bug,” she said with a raspy voice. Hmm. Something to think about, right?? The description of the flu bug symptoms has progressed from a nasty cold to a possible virus or strep throat.

I could go on and on. The main thing is, write the first sentence and let your imagination run wild! Oooops, I do need to say one more thing about descriptive writing. Being overly descriptive can cause the reader to lose their focus!  There can be too much of a descriptive thing. 😊

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