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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

“Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader - not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”—E. L. Doctorow

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ~Anton Chekhov

Look at me, spending quotes like there’s an endless supply . . . I admit it, I have an addiction—to quotes. (I bet you hadn’t noticed.) I love it when someone is able to put something into words that captures a wealth of meaning in a sentence or two. I especially love it when they are able to convey a thought or belief I’ve held without being able (or taking the time) to put into words.

Today’s quotes are more craft related than most and call for very little commentary from me. They stand on their own. The only more succinct advice I’ve heard on this topic is “show don’t tell.”

Read to identify authors who use description effectively, both with ordinary everyday language and with language that sounds like written music to the ear, and practice, practice, practice.

“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. Reading will help you answer how much, and only reams of writing will help you with the how. You can learn only by doing.”
—Stephen King

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