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STEPHEN KING ON DESCRIPTION

Stephen King. Photo:: Pinguino K

Stephen King. Photo:: Pinguino K

Learning To Describe Is Hard But Necessary Work

In his book on the writing craft, On Writing, author Stephen King stresses the importance of competent description. He also provides plenty of advice on how to hone your descriptive skills, of which the quotes below are but a sampling:

“Description is what makes the reader a sensory participant in the story. Good description is a learned skill, one of the prime reasons why you cannot succeed unless you read a lot and write a lot. It’s not just a question of how-to, you see; it’s also a question of how much to. . .

“Thin description leaves the reader feeling bewildered and nearsighted. Overdescription buries him or her in details and images. The trick is to find a happy medium. It’s also important to know what to describe and what can be left alone while you get on with your main job, which is telling a story. . . . ”

“For me, good description usually consists of a few well-chosen details that will stand for everything else. In most cases, these details will be the first ones that come to mind.”

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