Here are a few of the methods I’ve learned: Writing is hard work.
Sometimes, when we get hung up on a certain passage, it’s easiest to fall back on the phrasings that are most comfortable: butterflies in the stomach, snow that sparkles like diamonds, a peaches-and-cream complexion, etc.
Using this sound to describe someone’s pain is so much more effective than claiming that his heart ached or his chest hurt. (Chime, Franny Billingsley) Here, the author could easily have said that her father was a man prone to awkward silences. This gives life to the father’s typically inanimate moodiness, making it much more active and intentional.
To create a description that resonates with readers, experiment with different comparisons. Instead, she used personification to bring those silences to life. With the added personification, this example packs a heavy punch.
Weather is very often conveyed through the feel of the air.
When expressing a character’s emotions, we show what the eyes and hands are doing.When we add an element of emotion to a descriptive phrase—especially when the feeling isn’t overtly mentioned—it adds depth, like in the following example: There’s no mention of emotion here, but it still comes through because Anderson has used a comparison that expresses disconnectedness and resulting sadness.Readers are smart, and most of the time, they appreciate subtlety.Here, two of the senses are employed to show us how the voices sound: auditory (loud and rough) and textural (the sharp edges of beer cans).Mixing the senses not only makes for unexpected descriptions, it’s also a great way to add dimension and draw readers a bit more into the story. But the problem with obvious choices is that, over time, they lose their impact and end up sounding flat.To move beyond these clichés, focus on one aspect of the description and experiment with new ways to say that one part.Take this sentence, for instance: This is a great example of how a potentially clichéd phrase can be freshened up with a little extra thought and effort.This result can also be achieved by zooming in, rather than out: Pulse is one of those emotional indicators that we overuse.It’s always pounding, racing, or thundering like a drumbeat.With description, authors tend to focus on certain details.When showing what a character looks like, we give a run down of hair color, body type, and skin tone.