How to say a lot with a little

Is this one of your biggest issues?

Getting just right the who, where, why and what they are doing. It’s mine.questions-1328465_640Sometimes I get carried away with descriptions. Yet often, like a good perfume, a little goes a long way. A little is divine, too much, yikes. skunk-34149_640

I’m not a visual person so describing situations or scenes is difficult for me. So I’ve invented little tricks to help myself not over think it too much. However, the downside is I end up rewriting a lot. And I do mean a lot. Sigh… I guess there really are no shortcuts.

Things that help me:

  • Look up the word. The dictionary and thesaurus really can be a great source for brainstorming.
  •  Have the character stop and look around. Describe what they see, smell or hear but not what they are doing.
  • Write the scene like a piece of Flash Fiction. This is a good discipline in brevity. It helps me see things in a different light.
  • Remind myself that my readers know what the color purple looks like. I don’t need to go crazy.
  • Reading, reading and reading.

One of the best articles I’ve read lately on this subject written by . Be sure and hop over and read it for inspiration on good descriptions. Link at bottom.

I’m also now reading:

Another good resource is:


Do you have any tips that can help me with writing good descriptive scenes?

Are you a visual person? Do share!

I’d love to hear from you! Click the “write me” tab or contact me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdell and, stop by and say hey! The lights are on and I’m waiting.

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6 thoughts on “How to say a lot with a little

  1. I like to ask myself
    1. What effect am I trying to create?
    2. How important is this scene?

    The answers determine the length of the description. Sometimes, when I want to draw the reader into a scene, and a location I go for a long description with a list of related detail and and alliteration. The idea is to leave an impression and imprint the scene. I know that readers who don’t want to read description will skim ahead anyway.

    For less important scenes and characters I try to hold my description to two items (I add a third on rewrite if they became important later).

    They aren’t hard and fast rules, but they help guide the process.

    Liked by 1 person

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