Monday, March 15, 2010

Tip for March 15, 2010; Description with Action

Description and action. They go together.

You see, when I have action, I need description. My reader needs to know how hard my character is trying.

This is a paragraph with a minimum amount of description:

He swung his stick at the man that was attacking. It was dark, so he couldn't see. He heard the stick hit the man. The man's attack stopped, and he [the character] ran away.

Not the best thing I've ever written. Now, I need to revise it, putting in more description.

First; the stick. It isn't a very descriptive term, so let's try stave instead, which also makes more sense in the context.

Second; the man. It's kind of awkward at times, and since the man is attacking, we'll call him mostly the attacker, or in other places, the unseen attacker.

Another thing; the sentence 'It was dark, so he couldn't see'. It is rather off the subject, so instead, I'll imply that it was dark by putting in the word 'blindly' where the character is swinging his stave, and unseen before the word 'attacker'.

Next, I'll replace the words hit and ran with the words strike and scrambled. Before scrambled, I'll use the word quickly. I'll also replace the word swung, from the first sentence, and replace it with lashed out with.

The sentence 'He heard the stick [now stave] hit [now strike] the man [now attacker].', needs to be revised further. I'll do this by adding 'and he was rewarded with a grunt of pain.' to the end, and 'with a smack' after the word attacker.

I'll replace stopped [third sentence] with slacked off.

And the final paragraph now looks like this;

He blindly lashed out with his stave at the unseen attacker. He heard the stave strike the attacker with a smack, and he was rewarded with a grunt of pain. The man's attack slacked off, and he [the character] quickly scrambled away.

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