Flat descriptions are often the result of using just one out of the five senses. Appealing to all five senses gives your writing dimension.
Unlike movie directors who have sound, visual and several fx tools at their disposal, the writer has just his words to describe how things sound and look like. Beyond those two senses, writers also have the power to describe how things smell, feel and taste. Beginner writers often underutilize than they overuse the five senses. If you want to truly immerse your readers in your story, do well to engage all their five senses.
The problem with the above is that it lacks depth and is one-dimensional. It can quickly get tedious because it engages just the sense of sight.
What other things can be said of the character described above?
he reeks of a brewery(smell)
his lips taste like a stale plum(taste)
he is deafened to the blaring of car horns.(sound)
the bottle weighs more than him, it… (touch)
Descriptions are not just character-centric, they also give your setting dimension.
The Horizon fades in with the ocean’s blue making it hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. ( Sight)
The breeze smells burnt and sweet…(smell)
Metal ground against metal; a lurching shudder shook the floor beneath him. He fell down at the sudden movement and shuffled backward on his hands and feet, drops of sweat beading on his forehead despite the cool air.” —James Dashner, The Maze Runner (touch)
Descriptive, sensual writing is about getting readers to truly experience a setting or a character through their senses. Make sure it is detailed enough to bring the place or character alive in the mind of the reader. Restrict yourself from overwhelming your readers with needless details.
That’s all for this thursday. See you next week. Drop your questions, contributions and disagreement (if any) in the comment box below.