D: Description


D is for Description

Doesn’t matter where you write by plot or the seat of your pants. The Devil is in the details.

For me I write in waves. First draft is with broad strokes. With each pass I add more details to the scene and characters. Soon the road through my story gets bumpy.

Turning Flat Stanley‘s into flesh and blood characters.

“Mitchel was about six feet tall, and under two-hundred pounds.” This is a generic description. I know he is tall, dark and handsome, with eyes the color of dark chocolate. He has cute love-handles that roll over his belt, which are the results of too many home-cooked meals by his new bride. But my reader doesn’t see what I see, hear what I hear, or know him very well until I reveal the picture and turn on the audio.

To introduce him to my readers, I must give him life. Somehow I must depict not just his features and statistics.

What is he doing, saying? Is he moving or standing still? For the reader to understand the character, he must live. A little bit like Dr. Frankenstein, we as writers take bits and pieces to create something from nothing.

With each draft, I add more, until fingers crossed, my characters and scenes are visible to my reader.

I want to avoid…

  • Laundry lists of descriptions. (Blond hair, blue eyes, age 45 etc.)
  • Cliches that make characters appear like caricatures.


  • by combining descriptions with actions, emotions, or thoughts, allowing them to do double duty.

For help with writing descriptions check out…

The Art of Description

The Art of Dynamic Descriptions

Use Vivid Description

thankyou note card

How do you give life to your characters and scenes? Do you have all the tiny details mapped out from the beginning?