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Yildun


Discord Devotee, Princess Worshipper, Mane Six Enthusiast, and somehow Sombra's Submissive.

More Blog Posts16

Mar
27th
2014

Creating Effective Description · 1:26am Mar 27th, 2014

Viking ZX has some amazing blog posts about the finer points of writing. This essay, for lack of a better term, might not be that profound, but it is the long and ponderous results of me working a mildly tedious job and hanging around a few of the writing groups, before the thread notifications became an endangered species.

Sneaky Edit: if you want to see one of the many things that has inspired me strongly, here is a link to an archive of Limyaael's Fantasy Rants. It's a lot to read, but it's worth it. Even if you don't agree with her opinions, she should give you plenty to consider regarding fantasy tropes. :trollestia:

Here's another one that I found recently, which directly relates to descriptive writing. It explains Show and Tell in all the depth that anyone could need. Please read the whole thing if that confuses you at all. I found it helpful. :twilightsmile:



How to Correctly Use a Thesaurus
I thought I'd start with this, because it's something that people tend to bring up a lot when it comes to bad descriptions.

The correct way to use a thesaurus, in my opinion, is to use it in conjunction with a dictionary. Never assume that your synonym is perfect for the job, especially if it wasn't the first word that came to mind. You'd also be surprised how many words I thought I knew the meaning of and it turns out I'd been using them incorrectly. More importantly, synonyms are often differentiated by their exact definition and their connotation. Use the word that means exactly what you're trying to get across. The reader can't read your mind when you make a mistake. They can guess, but if you're grabbing a word that you don't know, because it looks fancy, it might not be the word you actually want, and this could lead to confusion or unintentional amusement.

Above all else, don't use the thesaurus to find random adjectives, unless you're floundering around with something on the tip of your tongue. One of the greatest things any aspiring writer can do is to expand their vocabulary as they go. Use a word because you know it; don't choose it based on how many vowels it has.

How to Correctly Use a Dictionary
Actually use a dictionary on a semi-regular basis. The human mind is built to forget things that don't seem important. If you're worried about spelling at all, especially when it comes to homophones and homonyms, don't rely on automatic spell-check. It gets things wrong frequently and you can always double-check via a book or the internet. They have online dictionaries at your fingertips and you can look at several at once, just in case you disagree with the answer they gave you. Not to mention, there are a number of slang dictionaries and idiom definitions available, if you have any reason to doubt your usage of either.

And for the love of Celestia's plump derriere, don't abuse adverbs either. Adjectives get a lot of flack for being overused, but so do those. :trollestia:

When it comes to pony names and words, you can check the FiM Wiki to see if it agrees with you, and a few other sites as well.

We all make mistakes. I know it's exciting to share a story, but this becomes easier if you edit yourself a little as you go. You'll know when you feel uncertain and if you do, then you can alleviate some of the stress and some of your editor's work (if you have one) by checking right then and there.

With that bit of grousing out of the way, let me dive into how I see description. I think there are several things that tie into one another, but I'll try to address them individually. Hopefully, I won't screw up too much.



Perspective
The point of view is always important when considering description. Only a third person omniscient point of view will allow the narrator/narrative to point out things that the current protagonist has no way of knowing about. Keep this firmly in mind while writing about a door knob in another room that the dog is currently staring and whimpering at. If our protagonist can't see or hear this and it's third person limited, second person, or first person point of view, then it shouldn't be there. A better way let the reader know would be to switch to a protagonist who would notice, if that is possible, or by hinting at it later (they'll know all they need to know after the dog has an accident in front of the door.)

Another thing to consider is that the protagonist should direct the description based on their actions. If your character is in the middle of a bar fight, they probably won't notice the other patrons hurrying out the front door, unless they get shoved into a bunch of them. In general, even outside of first person, the protagonist should influence what is being described. Rarity would probably notice another pony's clothing long before Rainbow Dash would, unless of course it was a Wonderbolt uniform. Applejack might notice the produce, while Twilight is busy trying to read the titles on that stack of books.

Your protagonist's interests, desires, and current emotional state will have a profound effect on what they focus on at any given moment, and the description should typically be based on what the protagonist is doing. Whether the writer thinks it deserves a single sentence or an entire paragraph, there needs to be a reason for why the reader is reading about it. The protagonist's motivations are as good a reason as any. Real people tend to process a lot of information that promptly gets forgotten, unless they have a reason to take note of it. Do you remember what you wore three days ago?



Information
Description should be used to give the reader relevant information as the reader starts to ask questions that the story intentionally brings up. Outside of dialog, this is one of the most direct yet subtle ways to do that. Most description should be there to explain what a character is doing or thinking about. It goes hand in hand with action, no matter what kind of action.

Always make certain that the reader understood what the description was describing. If it didn't, then the description has failed. At the very least, the reader should be able to comprehend what was being described and why. In many cases, less is more and clarity is key. The writer wants the reader to be able to imagine everything. It's the easiest way to get inside a character's head: to see what they see, to smell what they smell, to feel what they feel, to taste what they taste, and to hear what they hear. Not everything needs to be described to the tiniest detail, however. Readers simply need to know what is most important and are willing to fill in some of the least important details for themselves.

To that end, the reader doesn't always need the exact shade of blue being described, although there is no harm in suggesting it is a light blue. The difference between cornflower and cyan might be a sticking point for some, but no one will complain if it's left a little bit vague with the "light" modifier applied. On the other hand, it's not exactly wise to use cerulean as a pseudo shorthand for blue when you're describing a completely different shade (like sky blue.) Words have meanings and should be used as such. If you don't know what sort of color you're describing, research can be very informative. There is also a difference between a longsword and a katana. This distinction may not matter, but anyone who knows what a katana looks like will envision one when that word is used.

Note that vagueness shouldn't be allowed if it's not important to the narrative. Endlessly describing Twilight Sparkle without ever using her name is a poor excuse. It's not just Lavender Unicorn Syndrome. Taking several paragraphs to explain what she looks like is a thankless job when the fans already know and it should only be done when it's actually relevant to the story, as an attempt to foreshadow that something very unusual is going on. The reader will always want to know why they're reading what they're reading, subconsciously, and it's the writer's job to help them forget that they're reading in the first place, by giving them the answers when these questions arise by incorporating them into the description.

Why am I reading about what Twilight Sparkle looks like? Because someone shaved her mane and tail off and she's currently yelling at poor Fluttershy, who can't help but stare in abject horror at her bald friend. Oh, and Discord might be doing his best not to chuckle behind his friend. What happened? Guess I'll have to read to find out. It might not be Discord, since he tends to remove things without using such physical means as an electric razor, but it's not necessarily a surprise that he'd get blamed for it, especially if he antagonized Twilight recently. In this instance, the reader can be gently guided along through the process of finding out who was really behind it (which could still be Discord), if the point of the story is to keep it a mystery for awhile. Otherwise, it could be explained that he had no hand in it. Perhaps Twilight already knows Sunset Shimmer did it and she simply wants him to help her find the culprit. The relevance of the information should be revealed when the information is being given via the description or anywhere else.

Note that the more time spent in describing a given thing, be it a character, an object, or an event, the more importance that the reader will attach to it. That's why a random waiter shouldn't really be given ten sentences worth of description if they're never going to make a difference in the story. Using barely a sentence to describe the most important character in the whole story, including an unknown protagonist, will do nothing, but frustrate the reader endlessly. Eventually they'll give up if they don't think the answers will ever come.



Atmosphere
Another reason is of course to simply explain the world around the character by describing it. This is a great way to get the reader immersed in where they are and what is happening outside of the protagonist's direct control. If the protagonist is pony-watching from the outdoor table of a restaurant, it makes perfect sense to describe what they see. It may or may not be a more passive means of exploring the world. The same holds true for the protagonist who is thinking for quite some time about something that is happening now or which happened in the past.

These situations are where a writer who loves descriptions can really indulge in their love by having their character divulging some tender musings about spring during a walk through the royal gardens with a Princess, pausing to smell the blooming flowers, and perhaps wondering why some of the statues have become so overgrown with weeds. It gives an idea of how the character is feeling, where they are, what they're doing, and potentially why, but without having to rush anything along the way. Scenes like this can be used to expand the canon with the writer's ideas, to explore who a character is, and what they love to do by showing how they interact with their surroundings in the same way that non-exposition dialog can show how they interact with some of the other characters.

This is best for quiet scenes, but they should still have some purpose; usually as a set-up for the overall premise, foreshadowing of future events, or as a general introduction to something. It can also be a way to relax between more intense or otherwise hectic scenes. I would note that emotional states and their impact probably have some bearing on the atmosphere as well. A depressed individual may see the same scene differently than someone who is currently delighted. (La vie en rose!)



Pacing
The protagonist who is presently fighting for their life should not pause to consider the rose garden unless they plan on diving into it in a minute or two. At the same time, pausing to stare at the enemy's plate armor as if enraptured will make the fight drag, especially if the protagonist does this per each guard they are facing. Rapid actions like this get bogged down when paragraphs of description cut in for no reason, like people on a dance floor swapping partners repeatedly. It's one thing to pause just long enough to notice the gaps in the armor or to consider where the protagonist wants to run. Description should flow with the action it is being paired with. While short, choppy sentences may seem too fast, sprinkling them with details is better than flooding them with adjectives.

Always consider the point of the scene, the point of the description, and how it seems to meld together. Read this scene over and over. It takes time to figure out what works best in this instance, but when in doubt, consider description as a means for slowing everything down. It's a subtle tactic, but a good one. Nothing should be too sparse, unless that's a stylistic choice. When in doubt, try to measure each description by the time it would take to notice everything being noticed. People do take in information all at once and swiftly, but understanding this information takes processing and that still takes a certain amount of time. It takes a lot of practice to get the hang of this sort of thing and there aren't many clear-cut rules regarding this, but overall I think it's a decent rule of thumb to take the intent of the scene into account. If the purpose is to show the protagonist's skill at fighting, then bogging it down with random information about the make and model of both armor and weapons is not a good example of this. The reader isn't really going to be that concerned about it either, because they know it isn't important enough to care about.

Overall, you really, really want the reader to care about your descriptions and not skip over them in favor of getting to the next bit of dialog or the next verb in sight. This is a bad sign. Either the descriptions weren't engaging, didn't seem important, or they didn't help immerse the reader. And trust me, the reader wants to be fooled. If the writer can't fool them into forgetting about the world around them, then the writer hasn't done their job or something else is a distraction. That's why Purple Prose sucks.

Note that some information that isn't immediately relevant can be saved and sprinkled in at a later time. It's perfectly okay to describe some things in bits and pieces, such as a shorter character having to crane their neck to look up at a taller one and then only mentioning their perfectly coiffed mane when it gets ruined by a water hose. Huge chunks of description aren't always necessary, but little details can be slipped in here and there sometimes.



Variety
Nothing is more annoying than seeing the same phrases over and over again. It's one thing if it's a simple statement, but it gets tiresome if it's a lack of imagination that gets trotted out repeatedly. Try not to get repetitive. It's not easy, we all have our selective thoughts about certain things and sometimes it's hard to consider how else to describe the same thing. If it's something recurring, the reader may only need it described once and then the rest of the time it can simply be referred to in a few words. If that doesn't help, perhaps whatever it is doesn't need to appear that often. A thing loses its significance the more the reader sees it mentioned. If the significance is meant to go down over time, that's fine.

Another thing to point out, however, is that once something loses significance, the character might stop keeping track of it until it becomes relevant again. By default, we tend to ignore things we don't care about, unless we're being forced to pay attention. This is why annoying things get on our nerves so much. It's usually because we have no idea when they'll stop being a distraction and we can't ignore them, no matter how hard we try.

This is where learning how to describe things very well or with relatively unique comparisons is a real plus. Readers remember things that stand out, especially if they accurately described a given thing while making it apparent why it was necessary to describe it at all. It doesn't help if it muddles what is going on or what the reader just read, but creativity will go far. Humor is most striking when it's profound and description is the same. If the writer can say so much more with a short paragraph about a clock than just mentioning some blinking letters in the dark, they've put some serious effort where it was most needed and that is the hallmark of a good description. It should be so much more than a dry example of a thing. It should have an impact and it should combine well with all of the other elements surrounding it. Description is directed by the protagonist who is directed by their thoughts and emotions which are influenced by the world around them, which in turn is more often than not what the protagonist is describing. It's a circle of consideration that the writer should be mindful of.

Description doesn't happen in a vacuum. Forget the sunny skies over Ponyville or the walls of that empty room the character woke up in. Start listening to Tommy Wiseau, because his greetings are hilarious. Just be mindful of his bare bottom. Those sex scenes still make me shudder.




I think that covers it. Let me know if I left something out or if none of this seemed remotely useful. :pinkiesmile:

TL;DR Learn the joys of quality, freshness, and flavor. Pork not included. Brought to you by Rifftrax. (Not really.) :trollestia:

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Comments ( 18 )

There are quite a lot of useful things posted on here.

Also:
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:pinkiehappy:

Also, read BAD writing. It is more useful than good writing. I'm embarrassed to admit how many times I'm tempted to use " X said _____ly." I never thought about it much, and recently had to ax twelve out of one chapter.

The first chapter of Twilight is a GREAT example of how to suck at description. For one thing, first person narrative traps you inside the protagonist's skull, which is a hell of a place to be if you hate that person. It means you can't describe what the character looks like unless you dance him or her over to a mirror: the most tired trick in the book.

Bella begins with describing breakfast with her father: "Breakfast with Charlie was a quiet event." NO. Breakfast with your father is not an "event," unless it is AT an event, like a Disney character breakfast, or it becomes eventful, like an alligator getting up Dad's trouser leg. What she's trying to convey is that Charlie doesn't talk much, which is cheating.

And then, oh, God, then Bella sits there and "examines the kitchen." Thank gosh for this passage, because it is a King Kong sized example of how not to do it. Meyer doesn't know how to leave observation with character and dialogue and action, so she backs up her dump truck and smashes us with a description of the kitchen, and adds "nothing had changed." It's so much better than saying "you should do this. . . and this. . . and this." Sometimes, it helps to say "you see this? Right here? Don't do this."

I almost always prefer dialogue, which true or not, I think is my best thing. Then I go back and drop in other stuff. It's like layering on those overhead projection thingies. And sometimes, the description and action comes in later. The last thing I did just has . . . "maybe the guys should leave here and have this conversation while they're looking at the moon?" I could get away with what I wanted to do in terms of setting because I was basing it on my own memories of Manhattan Island, and particularly Midtown, and also the movie Moonstruck, so I had a model. I cheated and put stuff where I wanted, and besides I know that the Gran Ticino restaurant in that movie is really in the Village, so I figured this was kosher.

It wasn't until you yourself mentioned that you liked seeing Cheese on Cloud Nine that I thought "aha," and that gave me an excuse to show what the area looked like through his mood lens. That's what all the jumping around is about.

So, anyhoo, that's how I do it. No idea what the result is like, but that's how. TL/DR--old movies are your friend.

1958488

Also, read BAD writing. It is more useful than good writing. I'm embarrassed to admit how many times I'm tempted to use " X said _____ly." I never thought about it much, and recently had to ax twelve out of one chapter.

Very true. If you get frustrated enough while reading something, you'll learn for sure not to do that yourself. Hopefully. :derpytongue2:

The first chapter of Twilight is a GREAT example of how to suck at description. For one thing, first person narrative traps you inside the protagonist's skull, which is a hell of a place to be if you hate that person. It means you can't describe what the character looks like unless you dance him or her over to a mirror: the most tired trick in the book.

Oh, easy way to get around that is for the first person narrator to have used a mirror before and just tell you those details at some point, though scattering the details around is more useful. It's much better to get an attitude and personality in the introduction to your first person narrator anyway. As long as the description comes before too long, it can wait a little while.

That said, you are correct. The only book I ever considered throwing into the trash (I think I did eventually), was a first person teen novel that I absolutely hated. I've seen snippets of Twilight but never bothered to give it a shot. I didn't care. This book tricked me with a nice refreshing narrative voice and an interesting premise. Then it shit in my face shortly before I got to the cliff-hanger ending. I refused to read the other books in the trilogy. I'm not tempted to give them a chance. I hate very little and this made me hate it with a passion. :twilightangry2:

And then, oh, God, then Bella sits there and "examines the kitchen." Thank gosh for this passage, because it is a King Kong sized example of how not to do it. Meyer doesn't know how to leave observation with character and dialogue and action, so she backs up her dump truck and smashes us with a description of the kitchen, and adds "nothing had changed." It's so much better than saying "you should do this. . . and this. . . and this." Sometimes, it helps to say "you see this? Right here? Don't do this."

Yeah, I hate those kinds of exposition dumps. Especially when they don't matter. I can substitute a kitchen that I've seen before, Mrs. Meyer. You don't need to inform me of the specifics in this one. :rainbowlaugh:

I've written Sombra being fascinated by a kitchen, but all he cared about was the refrigerator, because he'd never seen one before. That's when you write about someone examining the kitchen. Or if they're looking for something. Like a cake pan or something. A character needs a reason.

Bella must have been insanely bored or filled with existential crisis when she stared at her kitchen. I know I would if I was her. :trollestia:

I almost always prefer dialogue, which true or not, I think is my best thing. Then I go back and drop in other stuff. It's like layering on those overhead projection thingies. And sometimes, the description and action comes in later. The last thing I did just has . . . "maybe the guys should leave here and have this conversation while they're looking at the moon?" I could get away with what I wanted to do in terms of setting because I was basing it on my own memories of Manhattan Island, and particularly Midtown, and also the movie Moonstruck, so I had a model. I cheated and put stuff where I wanted, and besides I know that the Gran Ticino restaurant in that movie is really in the Village, so I figured this was kosher.

I love dialog as well and more often than not it's a breeze for me to write. Some characters I could have talking forever. Sometimes I do just write the dialog and go back, breaking it up with little things.

But I also like writing characters who just think and think, sometimes. And every now and then a character who just wants to do something. It's sad, I don't think I'm necessarily great at description, but sometimes I get purely conceptual ideas. Like this one about Discord taking Celestia and Luna swimming through the cosmos, but I could never do it justice, nor could I give it a proper context.

But some stories are just harder than others. :duck:

As for putting stuff where you wanted, well, it is Equestria. It's not a perfect parallel anyway. :raritywink:

It wasn't until you yourself mentioned that you liked seeing Cheese on Cloud Nine that I thought "aha," and that gave me an excuse to show what the area looked like through his mood lens. That's what all the jumping around is about.

You captured the adorableness quite well. :trollestia:

Btw, I giggled about "where I hang my hat." Was that a conscious nod towards the Moochick, by any chance? :twilightsmile:

I've enjoyed reading your rants.

I sometimes tell myself i'd use this or that clever trick, but in the end, I'm not sure if I actully ever do.

I just follow the character, as if I was her, then express what happen from her perspective.

Though I've started to experiment with Narrative around her possition too.
Ending up not quite Narrative, and not quite First Person either, but something similiar, yet entirley different too.

1958635
Well, first person can have variables. Not every sentence needs to start with "I", after all. Technically you can mix in what looks like third person, when the first person character is stating what they believe about the world around them. Or as you said, what they observe to be true.

The dog chased the car. I thought that was always a joke, but not this time! He really did. I found out later that someone threw his favorite toy into the backseat. It's a good thing he gave up so fast or he might have been hit by another car as he ran down the street.

If that's the sort of thing you're referring to? :pinkiesmile:

1958686 first person speak as 'I',
but the narative can still be as omnious as regular narrative.

sounds confusing?

I do enjoy expanding on sensory, all the way to what I know of how ponies or other 'pets' would experience things.

ponies do have a much wider range of vission, hear more and sense more scents then we do, which is interesting to put into the narrative stance.

if you are to see this dog as anything than this joke, you may have to try to put yourself in his /her place?
your example is a place where you can reason with why, but a dog doesn't think like us, bcause they see things differently.
maybe the dog actualy thought the car would give it back, or that it could actually catch up?

1958251 this is exactly the kind of blogs that should be read and comented on continously.

1958586 another look in the mirror, if you have a second POV, then both see the toher character, first hoof? I do this commonly.

'give it a shot', as n a bullet through the head may be the shot desired? or it could be translated ino burning said book?

Examination, either as early on exposition, or the character looking for something, then?

Dialogue is a wonderous place, slip in presentation of characters, exposition, and all the rest.
I allow my characters to have empotions in the dialogue, and the snippet connected to it, and even have action within he dialogue iself.

Name something you can't do within a dialogue?

1958701

if you are to see this dog as anything than this joke, you may have to try to put yourself in his /her place?

I did. The dog's owner said someone threw a dog toy into the backseat, just as the car was beginning to drive away, so the dog tried to chase the car. But the owner didn't see that themselves, they found out awhile later from the person who threw the toy or someone else who saw it being thrown into the car.

maybe the dog actualy thought the car would give it back, or that it could actually catch up?

Pretty much. Then the dog realized it couldn't catch up and stopped. It was just an example I came up with, off the top of my head, in the span of a minute or two.

But the dog isn't the first person narrator. The dog's owner is and he or she doesn't know what the dog was thinking. They could speculate, but never tell you for certain, unless they can talk to dogs. Their assumption is that the dog was going after the dog toy, since their friend mentioned it. :unsuresweetie:

You don't really need the dog's thoughts if the dog's owner doesn't know and doesn't care. They're just grateful their dog didn't run into the busy street and get hit by a car.

1958721 most of us never learn to talk to dogs, or any other pets.
Though you can learn to see much of how they hink, just by learning more of how they work and function.

Can be quie intersting to ead a tail like this.
if it is a dog, or pony, just so long as it iwell told in the first place.

They're surprisingly alike, when you look closer, though.

1958715

another look in the mirror, if you have a second POV, then both see the toher character, first hoof? I do this commonly.

That could certainly work, if you mean having the first character describe their friend, then later on switch to the friend's POV and have them describe the first character. But in an example where the POV character never changes, that won't work.

'give it a shot', as n a bullet through the head may be the shot desired? or it could be translated ino burning said book?

Sorry, it's an idiom that means the same thing, roughly, as "give it a chance" or take a chance and read it. I've never read the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I don't even feel like reading them to see how terrible they are.

The one that I hated was The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. The first person character was an idiot and I didn't mind at first, but I hated him by the end of the story. He never really questioned anything that was going on and I guess he couldn't read, but his lack of curiosity drove me crazy. Then the author manipulated the events of the plot to be unnecessarily cruel to him, the girl, and the dog. I suppose I don't have the right frame of mind or the right life experience to enjoy that book or its sequels. I really don't know and I really don't care. I felt extremely disappointed by it.

Examination, either as early on exposition, or the character looking for something, then?

Well, yes. I meant that there needs to be a reason to actually explore a kitchen in that kind of detail. Looking for something is the most logical choice, but if the kitchen seems strange, then it might make sense to stare at it for awhile. For instance, if it's horribly dirty, or it has strange equipment, or there is a human head sitting on top of the stove. :trollestia:

Otherwise, it could be a cook taking pride in their exceptional and heavily customized kitchen. In general, there just needs to be a reason.

Some random person staring at their kitchen for the hundredth time is probably going to describe a very boring kitchen, because that's how they see their kitchen. It's not interesting to them, so it won't be interesting to the reader.

Name something you can't do within a dialogue?

While I do love dialog, writing a sex scene that was nothing but dialog probably wouldn't be a very good sex scene. Although it could be hilarious, depending on what happens.

A physical fight that was nothing but dialog might be just as awkward, though that is a little more plausible.

I can't think of much else at the moment. It's one of those things that is incredibly important, but it can't always stand alone nor can it take the place of everything. :pinkiesmile:

1958740
Yes, but not every story with a dog in it would require that. Plus, if it's from a first person point of view, the first person narrator has to be interested in knowing how other animals think. If they're not, then there isn't much point in adding that in.

Twilight Sparkle loves books, so her first person POV will be full of that. She probably doesn't care that much about what Winona thinks. Applejack, on the other hand, would care. It depends on who the first person narrator is.

And even people who care might have the wrong idea, if they've been given misinformation. :applejackunsure:

Description should be based on who the protagonist is, what their opinions are, what they are concerned about, and what they are doing currently. Any of that might change, because people change, but it's an important thing to keep in mind.

1958767 from this perspective, I guess it is good I commonly do swich POVs.
if the second character never is POV, it isn't there, on this count.
I could use a mirror to describe a character, from time to time, but then there is a point, and a mirror close by, with a reason to look at it.

Ah yeah, I just like to bend things, and even a bit out of contxt, maybe?
if the story was as bad as you found it, maybe the shot is literal, rather then figurative?
Even though I guess at least part of it may have been a good story, for some other reader, who would be very different from you?
I think I write my characters pretty different fom what you expressed the problems with?

Unless you haven't seen a kitchen, or there is somehing different, there is little to no point in staring at it.
Using it fo exposition, letting the reader know where it is for refference purposes, but nothing more?

These would be extreamly tough to pull off.
I have pulled a few sex scenes, but I don't like too much noices in the scene, so there isn't going to be much said, short of in the beginning.
Guess i'm just one of these who are quiet in bed, but still.

if they're angry at oneanother, they may throw vollies of insults at oneanother, or you could have an involved crowd who adds more commens, but I owuldn't have that scene, since it's not my story to tell.

1958776 I sometimes like to do things a bit more different then expected, so I could have included he dog from narrative. but more likely, if it had been a pony.

if they care about her posiiton in the case would depend on her ralation to he scene and the situation.
what if Winiona had writen, or red the book before,
then her oppinion could have a more interesting possition?
maybe she even recomended said book in the first place?
Does either Pony actually know her?
I guess Pinkie would still care, just because she cares about any and every pony, and then some.

some care about the dog for all the wrong reasons.
maybe it is because you own it?
or it is because it is 'loyal' to you, or any similiar reasoning?

Any character, or object with import to th story could be 'highlighted', but then you may have a very different story, and a story that may or ma not be your cup of tea?

Very informative!

I think one of my weaknesses is variety.

One can only use the line X stared, X's eye twitched, X deadpanned, so many times.

It something I get tired of writing and I wonder how I can state it differently.

2022730
Yeah, I have those same problems. I think one of the keys is try to consider alternative actions to suggest the same things or expand on the action itself a bit, if the pacing would be better served by it.

Everyone forms habits like that and since short-hand is easy, it takes more effort to consider other options. I don't think it's too bad to reuse some of those more than once, but it is something to be careful about. If all anyone ever does is lift one eyebrow, maybe it's time to start lifting both and see if they need some new expressions to try out.

Obviously with someone like Maud this is a bit hard, but I think with her it's just safer to not really focus on her facial expression, until that rare moment when she alters it somehow. :duck:

I think studying some body language articles and looking at some facial expression guides could help somewhat. The real key is to get creative and I'll admit, when I use something like that, I'm usually not being particularly so. More often than not you don't want to riddle a story with over the top descriptions of everyone's reactions, but it helps when you really want to hit a reaction home.

I think another thing is to try and consider distinctions of tone, more active reaction, and perhaps a focus on what hasn't changed to some effect as well.

I admit, I'm not really that great at description, but I felt like pointing out some of the stuff that routinely bothered me and which I know that I also need to work on. :trollestia:

2022730
Forgot to add, I think one of the other things is perhaps dependent on how important it is. A raised eyebrow is only so significant anyway so it's okay of it shows up more than once. I think it's only an issue when you start realizing everyone does it or there are maybe twenty instances in a short work. Sometimes we worry too much, but sometimes there are signs that we should heed.

On the other hand, if everyone is blushing constantly, it gets annoying, because people really don't blush as often as they may arch one eyebrow in disbelief or even both in surprise.

I know I use the word "just" way too much, for instance. It's a habit I'm trying to keep in check. At the same time, it's a really useful word, so there is no reason to avoid it. It's a case of moderation.

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