Wonderful World of Writing

Writing Descriptions Practice

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! Way back in June, I took a few minutes to work on my descriptive writing skills. Descriptive writing is one of the areas I struggle in most as a writer, but the exercise helped me pinpoint my weaknesses and work to correct them. I’d like to share one of the paragraphs today, describing the main character from my next release, Speak Your Mind, Victoria Harding.

WritingDescriptions

Original

The girl’s cascading locks of brown hair hid her face as she scribbled notes in her journal. Her bottom lip quivered as a shadow appeared around her, clouding her thoughts. Heat of hatred radiated from her teacher’s nostrils as she read Victoria’s journal entry.

So, it’s not that great, but it’s not terrible either. However, when I read back over it, I noticed a bad habit of relying on the word “as” too much. Let’s look at the paragraph again and see how many times I relied on “as” for the descriptions:

The girl’s cascading locks of brown hair hid her face as she scribbled notes in her journal. Her bottom lip quivered as a shadow appeared around her, clouding her thoughts. Heat of hatred radiated from her teacher’s nostrils as she read Victoria’s journal entry.

As you can see (no pun intended), the word “as” was used in 3 out of 3 of the sentences! That’s kinda embarrassing!

Rewrite

So, for round 2, I went back and tried to reword the sentences in order to cut out all of the “as” instances. Here is the result:

The girl’s cascading chestnut locks hid her face, shielding her writing from the judging eyes of her teacher. A shadow crept its way over her shoulder, clouding her thoughts. Her bottom lip quivering with anticipation, she bit down on it to silence her fear. Heat of hatred radiated from her teacher’s nostrils, the student’s scrawling sparking a tender nerve.

Lesson

Personally, I ended up favoring the rewrite more than the original. By pinpointing the root of my dull descriptions (the overuse of my crutch word, “as”), the rewrite forced me to become more creative while relaying the same message to the reader.

While writing another paragraph about Victoria’s friend, Aiden Andrews, I found that I was more careful with avoiding “as”. Nevertheless, once the paragraph was finished, I had used the word “and” twice. Back in 2nd grade when we first began to have writing assignments at school, my teacher warned us about overusing “and”. Keep that in mind as another crutch word to avoid when writing descriptions!


Give it a Try!

Your homework assignment, if you choose to accept it, is to write a paragraph describing an original character of your choice. Identify your crutch words and rewrite the paragraph to remove them. Afterward, read over both again and see which one you like better. Let me know how it turns out in the comments! 🙂

Later, Arrowheads,

-Allyson 😀

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