Need help with a description.

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Need help with a description.

Post by ebyss on Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:55 am

Hi all,

Once again, asking for some help with a description of a scene. It seems to be lacking something, so if anyone has some suggestions, please comment.

A thick fog rolled off the ocean and covered the ground of the little island like a blanket. Seven figures clad in black, flowing robes stood in a circle around a granite stone altar.

In the center of the altar, a fire burned, cutting through the night like a sharpened blade. The circular slab was divided into seven sections. Within each section, a comet was engraved, and above the shooting star a representation of each dragon. The respective dragon stone was arranged on top of each comet below the dragon counterpart.

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Re: Need help with a description.

Post by Guest on Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:28 am

For my opinion (what it's worth) there is a good bit of description here, but no action. There is an opportunity here to anthropomorphize the fog and make it a living thing.

A thick fog rolled off the ocean and covered the ground of the little island like a blanket. Seven figures clad in black, flowing robes stood in a circle around a granite stone altar.

Could be...

A thick fog rolled off the ocean. It's heavy presence blanketed the landscape, seeking out hollows and low places, settling in for the night. It found seven figures clad in black, flowing robes, caressing their faces with its cool touch as they circled a granite altar.


But, hey, that's just me. :)

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Re: Need help with a description.

Post by ebyss on Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:52 am

Thanks Wrey. It is very well written.

Now I have a question. Please do not think I am being tacky. When I question people's writing it makes me feel like I am not being appreciative, so please do not think that, because I am.

Is it okay for me to change POV's from a character to the fog? The reason I ask is because people are always saying don't change POV's because it is confusing or whatever.

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Re: Need help with a description.

Post by Guest on Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:04 am

I think in a case like this, it is OK. The fog is not a real character, only a figurative one. The grammatical changing of POV in this case is only to allow the fog a bit of life. smiling

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Re: Need help with a description.

Post by ebyss on Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:33 am

Very good. I added some life to my fog. Now, it sounds less dull. What about the altar?

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Re: Need help with a description.

Post by Colonel Marksman on Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:12 pm

I was going to say that your description of fog was very good, but could've used a bit of revsion. It's refreshing to see some good writing on the Internet for once!

But the edit by Wrey is ... fantastical!

Describing scenes like they were alive is almost always very good. I do this when trying to show my darkness.

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Re: Need help with a description.

Post by Guest on Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:14 pm

Hmmm. The Alter....

Again, I see a living thing in the fire at the center of the alter.

In the center of the altar, a fire burned, cutting through the night like a sharpened blade. The circular slab was divided into seven sections. Within each section, a comet was engraved, and above the shooting star a representation of each dragon. The respective dragon stone was arranged on top of each comet below the dragon counterpart.

Could be....

In the center of the alter a fire danced in arabesque loops. The seven sections radiating outward from the flames each contained a carved representation of a comet and of one of the seven dragons. The fire licked and swelled at each of the dragons like a lover inviting her man to play. Above each dragon, its respective dragon stone cast a cool shadow. The fog shrank back from this interplay of fire and stone, embarrassed at the intimacy.


Last edited by Wreybies on Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:58 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Need help with a description.

Post by ebyss on Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:41 pm

But the edit by Wrey is ... fantastical!
Wrey is far more poetic than I. His writing is always smooth and flowing. I think part of my problem is that I write more direct while Wrey sees a living image, and then he has the creativity to breath life into it.

The seven sections radiating outward ...This is exactly what I wanted to say, but it wouldnt come out. So, I am taking it. LOL!!!
Thanks Wrey!!

Any other comments and suggestions are welcomed.

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Re: Need help with a description.

Post by Guest on Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:46 pm

ebyss wrote:But the edit by Wrey is ... fantastical!
Wrey is far more poetic than I. His writing is always smooth and flowing. I think part of my problem is that I write more direct while Wrey sees a living image, and then he has the creativity to breath life into it.

*blushes fiercely*


Thank you. biggrin

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Re: Need help with a description.

Post by Colonel Marksman on Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:05 pm

Wreybies wrote:Hmmm. The Alter....

Again, I see a living thing in the fire at the center of the alter.

In the center of the altar, a fire burned, cutting through the night like a sharpened blade. The circular slab was divided into seven sections. Within each section, a comet was engraved, and above the shooting star a representation of each dragon. The respective dragon stone was arranged on top of each comet below the dragon counterpart.

Could be....

In the center of the alter a fire danced in arabesque loops. The seven sections radiating outward from the flames each contained a carved representation of a comet and of one the seven dragons. The fire licked and swelled at each of the dragons like a lover inviting her man to play. Above each dragon, its respective dragon stone cast a cool shadow. The fog shrank back from this interplay of fire and stone, embarrassed at the intimacy.
While this is very awesome, I personally think it's a bit too much.

Wrey, I was hoping that perhaps you had some exercise or something that we might be able to practice to get the kick of life flowing into writing. It is necessary to make this more natural, as Wrey cannot be standing next to us and helping 24/7 with every scene we deem important.

While the original was good, the reason I didn't like it totally was because I didn't understand it. I had to re-read it slowly to get it. This is usually due to lack of connection in the description. As Wrey demonstrated, you can achieve connectivity by continuing the same thought that keeps the reader on track.

ebyss wrote:But the edit by Wrey is ... fantastical!
Wrey is far more poetic than I. His writing is always smooth and flowing. I think part of my problem is that I write more direct while Wrey sees a living image, and then he has the creativity to breath life into it.

The seven sections radiating outward ...This is exactly what I wanted to say, but it wouldnt come out. So, I am taking it. LOL!!!
Thanks Wrey!!

Any other comments and suggestions are welcomed.

This is actually not poetic style, though from what I can see, Wrey is probably capable of poetic style. The poetic style in prose is extremely hard to achieve and do well.


Last edited by Garmar on Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:49 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : inappropriate comments removed)

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Re: Need help with a description.

Post by Guest on Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:21 pm

Colonel Marksman wrote:Wrey, I was hoping that perhaps you had some exercise or something that we might be able to practice to get the kick of life flowing into writing. It is necessary to make this more natural, as Wrey cannot be standing next to us and helping 24/7 with every scene we deem important.

While the original was good, the reason I didn't like it totally was because I didn't understand it. I had to re-read it slowly to get it. This is usually due to lack of connection in the description. As Wrey demonstrated, you can achieve connectivity by continuing the same thought that keeps the reader on track.

Yeah, upon second read, my version is just shy of softcore. Laughing

I was after an interplay with the fog (cool, smooth, flowing) and the fire (fierce, potent, dangerous). The scene is a description of a ritual event. Like all good rituals or religious events, there has to be something that makes the event alive, and somehow more than the sum of its parts, or the whole thing becomes just silly robes and props (I'm talking in real life).

So, I went after making the scene literally alive. The fog becomes a character, and I paint her as soft, cool and healing. She is like a mother. The fire is also a character. She is alive and burning, so I make her sexy and alluring, dangerously, deliciously attractive (what's more attractive than danger, aye?)

And the ritual is about magic. Sex is very magical, so yes, my version is a bit hot and bothered. *shrugs* biggrin


Last edited by Wreybies on Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:41 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Need help with a description.

Post by NaClmine on Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:23 pm

Wreybies wrote:
Yeah, upon second read, my version is just shy of softcore. Laughing Agreed.

Like all good rituals or religious events, there has to be something that makes the event alive, and somehow more than the sum of its parts, or the whole thing becomes just silly robes and props (I'm talking in real life). (Again, I agree. And there are countless way to "liven" the scene. You have three objects: fog, stone and fire -- each possessing natural properties that could be crafted into characters! These new "characters" can then be drawn upon by the humans to act in ways beyond their normal properties. For example, imagine fog mingling with fire rising through it -- dancing around and through the gray moisture without adverse effect on either. And, next to this odd contradiction, the dragons on the stone could MOVE! Of course, stone's character is rigidity, yet in this moment of wizardry, the engravings come to life, ultimately interacting in some way with the fire and suspended water. There is no limit to the "life" and action you can create in this scene. You can even add tension as the beings-from-nature begin to animate beyond control by the sorcerers who must act quickly to regain dominance over nature.)

So, I went after making the scene literally alive. The fog becomes a character, and I paint her as soft, cool and healing. She is like a mother. The fire is also a character. She is alive and burning, so I make her sexy and alluring, dangerously, deliciously attractive (what's more attractive than danger, aye?)

And the ritual is about magic. Sex is very magical, so yes, my version is a bit hot and bothered. *shrugs* biggrin

As a writer ebyss, take the motivation from such suggestions in this thread and allow your imagination to run wild. Keep in mind that description-alone is not the most interesting aspect of this scene. It is the interaction of the players that will make this scene pop.
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Re: Need help with a description.

Post by ebyss on Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:03 pm

Thank you all for the help. I really appreciate it. You are great peeps. :)

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Re: Need help with a description.

Post by MC on Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:02 am

Wrey, I was hoping that perhaps you had some exercise or something that we might be able to practice to get the kick of life flowing into writing.

I've had an idea bouncing around in my head for a while for something like this. A challenge or game that exercises description skills. I think I'll post it in the game section if you guys don't mind...or if someone hasn't beaten me to it.
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Re: Need help with a description.

Post by ebyss on Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:33 pm

This is a great idea Garmar.

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Re: Need help with a description.

Post by NaClmine on Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:49 pm

ebyss wrote:This is a great idea Garmar.

Garmar? Are you, perhaps, responding to MC? I realize they look a lot alike, but Garmar has the short hair! LOL
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Re: Need help with a description.

Post by ebyss on Sat Apr 04, 2009 9:58 pm

Garmar, because he opened up a thread for partials.

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Re: Need help with a description.

Post by NaClmine on Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:23 pm

DUH . . . now, I get it . . . and here I was worried about your ability to recognize common gender attributes. LOL
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