Getting Visual

I have a good imagination but sometimes it really helps with descriptions in my writing to use visual help. In the story I’m working on right now, the house plays an important part of the story. It’s almost a character itself so I want to make sure the reader gets an accurate picture of the house and the land around it. To do this, I need to have an exact picture of it.

I’m using a variety of ways to keep it clear. I’ve drawn a floor plan of the house with the rooms labeled for easy reference so I don’t have a character opening a door to the bedroom one time and then later in the story opening the same door but having it lead to the workroom by accident.

I also search online for pictures that come as close as I can to the house and yard I have imagined. I keep these pictures in a file for easy reference.

English: Farmland, cottage gardens & Loch Ken

English: Farmland, cottage gardens & Loch Ken (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are different important areas on the land where the story takes place so I’ve drawn a map to keep it all straight.

I love reading a book that has maps. It doesn’t need too many details but an overview of where the story is taking place makes it more real.

The trick is to translate this all into words with enough description to give the reader a clear vision to easily follow along without bogging down the story. This is a challenging balancing act.

Personally, I love good description in a story but know that many of today’s readers don’t have the patience to read too many details. They just want the story to keep moving along.

I know many authors use pictures of real people to help describe their characters. Do you use any tools to help you with your descriptive writing?

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5 thoughts on “Getting Visual

  1. Nicole says:

    I really like this idea! I never thought of creating a floor plan to a house to keep the details all in line with each other. Brilliant Sherrie!

  2. drybredquips says:

    Thanks for liking “changing speeds,” Sherrie. Belgian Georges Simenon, writer of the famous French Inspector Maigret series, said he tried to write description like the impressionists of his generation painted – in little dabs of only the most telling details of an individual character or scene.

  3. drybredquips says:

    Thanks for liking “well-endowed volume,” Sherrie, and for liking what Simenon had to say about how and why he wrote description the way he did. His novels were typically only 125 pages long. But they were so popular that they were translated (from the original French) into something like seven languages around the world. He wrote until he was almost 90 years old and published to that age.

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