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 An exercise in descriptions

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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: An exercise in descriptions   Fri May 16, 2008 10:49 am

Just an idea.
When we write we try to describe things so
that the reader can visualize the scene or get the feeling of the situation.

I think it might be fun to write a
description on any number of things or emotions.

Description of things:
1. A mountain range, i.e., the Rocky
Mountains, but at a specific location.
2. A river (a particular river)
3. A street, a house, a car, etc.,
4. A person (male, female, old, young,)

Feelings about things:
1. Horrified
2. Shocked
3. Distressed
4. Happy

Any other ideas/suggestions.
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Fri May 16, 2008 10:56 am

I'm cooking supper at the moment but I'll have a crack at this later -- it might be tomorrow before I post my attempts at the four descriptions and four feelings.

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P. Gordon Kennedy
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Fri May 16, 2008 11:35 am

How about this for an exercise to try. Get a photo and try to completely describe the image in the photo using words such that one reading those words would have a pritty good visualization of that image. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. It would be interesting to see if it actually takes a thousand words to discribe the avarage photo.
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Fri May 16, 2008 1:12 pm

I don't mean any disrespect of dispute here, but I have never understood why people do exercises instead of working on these things within work they're doing.

I just finished writing a chapter and had three of four places where I ended up scratching my head and trying on several different descriptions for something.

This seems to be more practical to me than trying to describe a river or mountain or picture. Maybe that will come up in my next book.
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Fri May 16, 2008 10:36 pm

I’m trying to understand how on a writers
forum, discussions about chocolate or pizza would be more helpful than
description about scenes or feelings. I
happen to like both of them. As with
any thread, one should just ignore what doesn’t interest them.

On my list of “feelings about things” I
forgot #5 - Anger.
Here's a description of the feeling of anger:

“The redness of his face was not from the
sun. It started as a slow burn and
crept through his entire body. The rise
and fall of his chest was controlled with deep
breaths. He clenched and unclenched his
fists; beads of perspiration formed on his forehead as the fury took
hold. Unless he was diverted
immediately, he would seek release for the anger that had built up within
him.
He slowly turned and faced his
tormentor…..”
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Brenda Hill
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sat May 17, 2008 2:28 am

Abe, I totally agree. However, several have stated they write only for
fun and enjoyment, that they're not interested in improving, so I can't see
the point of continuing discussions on writing. I had thought of
starting more threads on writing techniques, blurbs, queries, but have
lost interest. Perhaps I got tired of arguing.

There are so many things we, as writers, need to learn, such as
taglines, improving our queries and synopses, that it seems to me a
writers' forum would be the place to post sections for advice and
suggestions, but I guess not.

As one said, and I paraphrase: if a writer keeps getting rejections, perhaps he/she should face the fact they can't write.

Another says it's almost impossible to break into the majors, so why try.

So indeed, why try?


Last edited by Brenda Hill on Sat May 17, 2008 2:37 am; edited 2 times in total
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sat May 17, 2008 2:36 am

You guess wrong Brenda! Please start as many threads as you like about writing.

I didn't write anything new for Abe's writing exercise but this is a quote from my recently published book:


A Mountain Range:

“As we travelled along Chief Mountain International Highway, the primary route between the two parks, we climbed over glacial debris and drove through aspen groves and lodgepole pine forests with magnificent views ahead of Chief Mountain.

The road eventually crossed the international boundary and gave the first clear view of Mount Cleveland, the highest mountain in the area at over ten thousand feet. The mountain road itself climbs up to over six thousand feet.

At one of the view points along the route, we stopped to stretch our legs and walked around in the clear mountain air. In the distance we spotted mountain goats, motionless on a sheer rock face, thousands of feet above us. Further still, in the far distance, we glimpsed the ice fields of a glacier glistening in the early evening sunshine.”

Chapter Fifteen, A Common Language, The Power of Persuasion by Shelagh Watkins © 2008

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Last edited by Shelagh on Sat May 17, 2008 2:44 am; edited 2 times in total
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Brenda Hill
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sat May 17, 2008 2:40 am

Good for you, Shelagh. And I love your passage. A glacier? How wonderful it would be to see one.
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Pam
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sat May 17, 2008 7:21 am

Egads folks, as a forum for writing and writer's I would hope we have plenty of tech talk. I don't actually see where people do not wish to improve at all! Just because people don't wish to become a best selling author or they write part time does not imply they don't want to do it well, and when I read through people's posts here I see a desire to learn all over the place.
I know for me personally that since I write all day I like to visit and talk about non-related or semi-related things because by the time I am through "work" I am sometimes very tired of writing, and almost tired of reading too. The digressions to food simply remind us that we all have to eat, and become a common theme to chat around that doesn't require a whole lot of cerebral power, but still allow us to connect as human beings.
I think your exercise is great Abe, and if I was in the mood I would certainly take part. I may yet now my feathers are feeling somewhat ruffled. That's why having these kinds of ideas make this forum so valuable; there is a little something for everyone, and people take or leave what they feel like.
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sat May 17, 2008 7:51 am

lol! Thanks all of you. Nice to know I'm not the Lone Ranger. Of course with a good sidekick, perhaps riding the range wouldn't be so lonely.

I like the description of the mountains. What I'm trying to do it to paint a word picture that people can actually see or feel it. I do my best but practice and seeing how others use certain expressions can be helpful.

There is one emotion or event that I think defies description. I'm a bit embarrased to mention it, but it is one emoiton that needs to be experienced - not described.
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sat May 17, 2008 8:55 am

I’m trying to understand how on a writers
forum, discussions about chocolate or pizza would be more helpful

Good point

As with any thread, one should just ignore what doesn’t interest them.

I was interested enough to ask why
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E. Don Harpe
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sat May 17, 2008 9:07 am

"However, several have stated they write only for fun and enjoyment, that they're not interested in improving, so I can't see the point of continuing discussions on writing."

Please repost something where someone has said this.
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zadaconnaway
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sat May 17, 2008 9:08 am

I think the exercises are good practice and help us hone our skills, whether we write for fun, profit or both. I was taught that anything worth doing is worth doing well. I just haven't had the time to participate on this thread. Sorry Abe. But don't stop. Many of us are interested. I've just been busy.

And I agree with Pam, this forum serves many purposes, including fun and instruction. Some days it is my only social interaction.
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Pam
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sat May 17, 2008 9:38 am

Abe F. March wrote:


There is one emotion or event that I think defies description. I'm a bit embarrased to mention it, but it is one emoiton that needs to be experienced - not described.

Give me a hint Abe, and I'll see what I can do. bounce bounce bounce
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sat May 17, 2008 9:41 am

Oh! Oh! Oh! Ahhhhhh.
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Sue
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sat May 17, 2008 9:46 am

Okay Folks, my two cents. Again, I feel as though I am low man on the totem pole but I have to stick my nose in.

I like Allllllll the discussions!!!!!! We need to be lighthearted at times and get away from the serious side so that we can go back to it. I think laughing and joking helps us clear our minds for the serious side of writing.

Brenda, Please, please post!!!!!!!! I need all the help I can get!!!!!! If I have something to add to help out I will. It seems though that most of you have things covered already.

I do agree about the arguing though. I almost gave up because of the negativity I felt a while back. I am trying to learn not to take it personally.

I haven't done the exercises because I haven't had, or taken, the time to do them. Finding time to write is a big issue for me. I feel guilty sometimes even being here when I know I should be doing something else. BUT!!!! I LOVE this group!!!!!!! And I can't stay away. I have left most all my other groups but come to this one more than once a day. (You can tell by the times on the postings.)

So, in conclusion.... you are all probably saying it's about time.... I want it all, the exercises, the posts on help for writers (and publishers), the laughs, the cries.

Thank you for being here for me! I hope someday to be able to be there for you.

sunny
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Sue
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sat May 17, 2008 9:52 am

Pam,

Could you elaborate more, please, on your statement that you write all day. Is this for your books? Do you set times? How do you keep out the distractions? I have a hubby who won't leave me alone.

Charlene Baumbich, author of the Dearest Dorothy series, stated she leaves home for 2 weeks to write. She goes to a motel or bed and breakfast and just writes because there are too many distractions at home. I have threatened my husband with this. However, I don't have the money to do it, "yet". *grin*

So, Pam, I am looking forward to your input. Also any of the rest of you that would like to share your schedule with us.

sunny
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sat May 17, 2008 10:06 am

Abe F. March wrote:
Oh! Oh! Oh! Ahhhhhh.
Almost as good as Meg Ryan. Now, Pam, let us all see what you can do.

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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sat May 17, 2008 10:09 am

I would like to address the issue about negative posting but this is not the right place. I've started a new thread on the Chatter Box board to explain about moderators (or lack of!) on the forum.

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Pam
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sat May 17, 2008 10:17 am

Abe F. March wrote:
Oh! Oh! Oh! Ahhhhhh.

Abe you hit the mark on that one (oh the puns will never quit now, I can tell). I think that there are two ways to write about sex...first person (the inside of a character's mind) or third person. For me, when it comes to sex there is only one way to do it...

Oh get your minds out of the gutter you lot! This is a (semi) serious comment on my part. I mean that I enjoy sex scenes that are written in the third person because there is a lot more in them for me than the ones that I have read in the first person. Think Diana Gabaldon. Rich, sexy and full of, um, action.

Besides, as a single (again) woman, I need the third person aspect to bring the scene to life in my imagination. Shocked

I would write a sample on here but I know that we have one or two members who are pretty young, and so will defer to keeping things at a G-rating.

Cool
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Pam
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sat May 17, 2008 10:19 am

Sue Sunshine wrote:
Pam,

Could you elaborate more, please, on your statement that you write all day. Is this for your books? Do you set times? How do you keep out the distractions? I have a hubby who won't leave me alone.


sunny

Sue I'll start a new thread to reply, to avoid taking away from Abe's great thread. IT's right here... http://publishedauthors.org/authors-f6/writing-day-t537.htm. Smile


Last edited by Pam on Sat May 17, 2008 11:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sat May 17, 2008 10:50 am


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Sue
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sat May 17, 2008 12:05 pm

Thank you, Pam for the link. I am going to check it out now.

Thanks, Shelagh. It is on my list of to do next after Pam. *grin*
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sun May 18, 2008 1:53 am

PAM,
I have yet to read any description that can truly describe the ecstasy one feels.
For someone who had never experienced an "orgasm," lol! (I've said that word)
how can you possibly describe that feeling in writing?
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: An exercise in descriptions   Sun May 18, 2008 2:27 am

Meg Ryan was supposed to be a clue. The scene in the film "When Harry met Sally" is memorable because it was so over the top and topped by the comment, "I'll have what she's having."

Sex is personal and enjoyed on many levels. Sex for gratification is either masturbation or paid for sex. The pleasurable side of sex is the motivator to do something that people wouldn't take the time and effort to do if it wasn't pleasurable. In some African countries, women are still denied this enjoyment to keep them faithful to their husbands. The irony is that men are the cause of the enormous AIDS problem across Africa...

I digress. Sex described in books is about the sensual side of sex and the loving side of sex. Very rarely is it about procreation or gratification.

What you are trying to describe is a sensation, not a feeling. How would you describe suffering from hypothermia to someone who had never experienced the sensation of feeling cold? How would you explain the sound of a musical instrument to someone born deaf?

There are words to describe feelings but it is very difficult to describe a sensation to anyone who has never experienced that sensation.

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