When I reached home, I felt a sudden urge to run back and lose myself in the forest just like a chameleon in camouflage.
Nevertheless, I knew it was impossible, but I was comforted by the thought that the image of the wondrous forest and mountains was stamped in my mind, a reminder of my experience that certainly neither time nor age could erase.
The photograph of her father had been turned out to face the room.
She touched it every night before she went to sleep.
And that crucial first step doesn’t have much to do with characters or story or anything else. Those clipped words transport us straight to Offred’s enclosed, and terrifying, space. it looked strange, too, having been painted with all red mooing cows …
All that matters, but its importance shows itself more slowly. There are literally thousands of villages in the world which would fit that description. but still one redolent with vividness and atmosphere thanks to the powerful use of atmospheric specificity. Above, on the white ceiling, a relief ornament in the shape of a wreath and in the centre of it a blank space, plastered over, like the place in a face where the eye has been taken out. We’re also told just enough to give us an image of that place, enough to heighten tension, enough to tease curiosity. I took the large moloko plus to one of the little cubies that were all round …So your challenge becomes convincing readers that your world is real . Sure, a page or so into the scene, they may start to add details to it – but by that point it’s too late. If the scene feels placeless at the start – like actors speaking in somee blank, white room – you won’t be able to wrestle that sense of place back later. That means telling the reader where they are in a paragraph (or so), close to the start of any new scene. Then they talk (or argue, or fight, or kiss) some more, and then you drop in some other detail which reminds the reader, “Yep, here we still are, in this coffee shop.”That’s a simple technique, bit it works every time. As the roughest of rough guides, those nudges need to happen at least once a page – so about every 300 words. Where else but on board a nineteenth century American whaler would you get such a meal?That early paragraph needs to have enough detail that if you are creating a coffee shop, for example, it doesn’t just feel like A Generic Coffee Shop. If it’s natural to do so more often, that’s totally fine. By picking out those details, Melville makes his setting feel vibrantly alive. Joanne Harris’ opening of We came on the wind of the carnival.That doesn’t mean you should always play things the obvious way: no need for cliché;.You can have declarations of love happen in idyllic meadows, as in by Stephenie Meyer, but why not at a bus stop in the rain? Your character also brings one kind of mood to the scene, and the action that unfolds will bring other sensations.What matters first is this: your fictional world has to seem real. In short, it’s the detail that gives this description its vibrancy. This is just a description of a room – but we already feel powerfully impelled to read on. there being like curtains to shut them off from the main mesto, and there I sat down in the plushy chair and sipped and sipped We’re told what we need to know, thrown into that murky Korova atmosphere and Burgess moves the action on.It has to grip the reader as intensely as real life – more intensely, even. And yes, he’s started early (Chapter 1, Page 1, Line 1). He could have written something like this: I hope it’s obvious that that sentence hardly transports us anywhere. They’re not just houses, they’re That basic template is one you can use again and again. It lies at the heart of all good descriptive writing. It might be tempting to share every detail with us on surroundings. Even with a setting like Hogwarts – a place readers really do want to know all the hidden details of – J. Rowling doesn’t share how many revolving staircases it has, how many treasures in the Room of Requirement, how many trees in the Forbidden Forest. (And it would write off a little of Hogwarts’ magic and mystery.)If you’re describing a bar, don’t write: The bar was approximately twenty-eight feet long, by perhaps half of that wide. All we really have in terms of detail are those mooing red cows, some cubies (curtain booths? There’s lots more author Anthony Burgess could tell us about that place. He gives us the Visuals are important, but don’t neglect the other senses.That’s good stuff: do likewise.(And one easy test: take one of your scenes and highlight anything that references a non-visual sense.If you find some good references, then great: you’re doing fine.If not, your highlighter pen remains unused, you probably want to edit that scene!)Use the atmospheric properties of a place to add to other properties of the scene.