How to Write Descriptively

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Being able to create sharp images in your writing is an important thing, especially for roleplayers. Unfortunately, not everyone is as good as they would like to be when it comes to describing something. This guide was written to help you refine your ability to describe something. This article will not only help your roleplaying ability, but the principles outlined in it can also be applied to writing that you have to do in other areas of your life. I hope that this guide doesn't sound too much like a lecture from your language arts professor, but rather that it will be both enjoyable and useful for the reader.

Three Elements

A good writer tries to employ the following three elements when describing something.

Appeal to Senses

Vivid writing tries to utilize language which arouses the senses (touch, taste, hearing, etc.). This type of writing will elicit more of a response out of your readers.

An example of writing to appeal to the senses would be this:

Although the harsh sandy winds had cut grooves into the burning dunes, little did it matter to those whose cover came from a cloak of sharp, golden grains - kicked up in the early hours of that pui.
To attempt to defy the swirling, glassy, grit would result in booking time off to brush the minuscule grains from one's fur and hair. But, to the camouflaged Anubi Yv sha Ledhs, the sand-storm was home in Tmu.

Use Strong Adjectives and Adverbs

When trying to writing descriptively, you should try to use words which have more depth to them than some of the other words you might normally use. Using a thesaurus can sometimes help you to find better adjectives than the ones you are currently using.

Use Precise Language

As you write about whatever you happen to be describing, try not to deviate from what you are describing until you are finished describing it. Don't get sidetracked, keep your writing simple and to the point.

Methods of Description

Describing something, whether its a creature, an object, or a location, should follow an orderly pattern. This will help your readers to better follow what you are saying. The methods listed below are just a few of the ways in which you can organize your writing. Remember that the most important thing when choosing a pattern is to write in a way that is easy to read and follow.

Top to Bottom/Bottom to Top

When describing a character, employing this method of description may be helpful. Start with the head and work your way down to your character's neck, arms, chest, and legs. You can also work backwards if you want, going from the legs up to the head.

Least Important to Most Important

Another method of describing something, especially intangible things such as personality, is to describe it from order of importance. You may choose to go from the least important aspect of something to the most important aspect of an object or vice versa.

Left to Right/Right to Left

This plan of description is similar to the “Top to Bottom” method. However, in this case you move from one side of something, such as a room, to the other side. This is similar to the way an artist creates a panorama.

Visualizing

Once you finish writing your description it should be thorough and should create a clear picture of what you are trying to describe. Ideally, with descriptive writing, you should be able to transfer pictures from your own mind to the minds of others. Sometimes, you may not be able to judge if you have done a good job with your writing. In that case, you might try sending your writings to a friend to see if your writing creates the image that you wanted it to create.

Summary

This is the end of the guide. I hope that you learned a little more about writing effectively. If you have more questions, feel free to ask them at the Help Desk. As you roleplay, always try to write about as many details as you can. If you do this, then your descriptive writing skills will continue to improve and your roleplaying will become a more enjoyable experience for both you and those whom you play with.