Wednesday, June 27, 2012

06/27/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Once again I thank everyone for your patience for this week. It's been emotionally and physically draining, but it's almost done, then the recovery time will happen. I think if I had some idea of what was going to happen after Monday it would be better, but right now all I can do is hope that everything will be fine.

Today I wanted to take a step back and look at something that I have run into several times during my quests to find stories to review on Friday. When I look for something to review, I of course read over descriptions, and if something catches my attention I will then proceed to look further into it. More often than not, I read a description and it seem like something I have heard/watched/read a billion times before. It's not that it's boring, but it's just nothing new. There are times also when the descriptions seem a bit dry, or are too short to get any actual idea of what's going to be happening in the story. I guess what I'm saying is that today I wanted to look at the brief descriptions you will have to make for your work once it's complete.

Descriptions are honestly one of the hardest things to write. They are (usually) short not-quite synopsizes of your story that you need to give enough information to make it interesting to your potential reader while not giving away so much of the plot that there's nothing to surprise them. I really think that everyone has some kind of trouble while writing one, but that doesn't mean they're impossible or that everyone's needs to sound exactly the same. The point of the description is to make the book stand out enough so that people want to read more into it, if everything said 'Jane Featherbane was just an ordinary high school student, until...' nothing would ever be read because the assumption would be that it's the same basic plot of the 50,000 young adult fiction works before it. Sure that basically be what happens in your story, but that doesn't mean you can't spice up the first impression.

The way I see it, your descriptions are like movie trailers. They are the narrator with that deep voice that tells you the world the characters are living in are harsh and desperate. Sure some movies are groan-worthy, but you wouldn't know if by watching the trailers. Think of the last movie you had epically high expectations for, my own example will be 'Brave' because I just saw it, every single trailer had something to bring to the table. It had a beautiful world, an interesting main character, and the scenes they were showing us told the audience that she was going through experiences that most of us had too. Then the plot-ness happens, and you are hooked. The images before already drew you in, but then as soon as magic starts happening, you need to know what happens next. That is exactly how your descriptions should be. Give hints that make the character relate-able, then drop something earth-shattering on them. I know they are supposed to be short, but this is honestly something that is possible.

A brief example I will give is one that I am working out in my head for 'Daughter of the Shackled King', this isn't by any means perfect, and will likely be changed later, but this is how I would begin the building process: Life in New York City for Lily Anderson was not nearly as glamorous as she'd hoped. Forced to juggle struggling math scores and a night job as a bartender at one of the the city's most specific clubs, there wasn't much time for anything else. Everything changed the day she opened a package and found the golden choker inside. Now the world is different; magic exists, she's the descendant of a God, and Lily finds herself thrown into the middle of an eons old war. Charged with being the savior of Chaos, she must decide for herself which side she's truly on.

Now I don't know what you all think of that, but my hope is that you're at least intrigued by the story. In my mind there are flashes of excitement and other such things, again playing off my movie trailer comparison, but you get the idea. My hope is that this has at least helped a little. Just remember your initial description is your book's first impression, and people will remember it no matter what.

Thanks everyone for stopping by again even though it's late. My next post will be on Friday, but I don't have an exact time yet. It will all depend on how things go since it's the center's last day. I appreciate all your patience and support this week. It's been tough, but I'll make it through. I hope to see you all back on Friday!

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