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Thread: Vivid Sentences

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  1. #1
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    Default Vivid Sentences

    Woop de do, I am wondering about prose and language.

    Ever since I started writing a lot in the internet year ago, I was told by a person that said, "Vivid sentences don't end in short bursts, it's overall impact that matters. They don't end in long sentences but rather with long lengths of prose that formulate the story itself."

    Tell me, what is an example of a vivid sentence? I was thinking of adjectives and adverbs to describe the action and scene, but I was wondering on how it could be. I wanted to learn of doing vivid sentences since I am not good at typing them, since they come off unsatisfying. Is it like "Show, Don't Tell" in any way? I wanted to make it flow.

    Or is it a bad idea if it comes off confusing?
    Last edited by Quilava42; 2nd February 2013 at 4:30 AM.


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  2. #2
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    It's partly show, don't tell. The most important thing to keep in mind when writing is what you want to get across to the reader. What does the reader absolutely need to know right now so they can understand the story? Using (more) adverbs and adjectives could help, but you have to be very careful not to tip into being wasteful. Think of it as a line: at one end we have concrete description and the other we have abstract. Concrete details: pine tree, dalmatian puppy, hospital. Abstract details: tree, dog, building. If describing the dog isn't important to the scene you're writing, just call it a dog and move on. If it is important, carefully choose the words that say exactly what you want to get across in as few words as you can. 'A thin mutt with wet, mangy hair' and 'The small dog with an embroidered collar' could both be something a character runs into while walking through a city. Both can be used to say a lot about the owner of said dog or the part of town the dog is seen in without needing to outright say 'This person is poor/rich' or 'This part of town is rundown/extravagant'. The thing that separates good prose from great prose is making your words do more than one thing at a time, but not using more words than you absolutely need to use.

    Say you have the child of a farmer walking through a large city for the first time. Instead of just telling the reader how the city is different than the country, show the character noticing small details that would stand out to them that city folk wouldn't give a second glance. This builds on their background without having to give an infodump about their past, but it also paints a picture of the scenery in a way that doesn't make the reader want to skim over to the next bit of dialog or action. Maybe the character notices how people treat animals as pets compared to their experience using them to ease the workload or defend from predators. They might try to rationalize the politics they see with the cliques where they're from.

    Just remember that good description is about using the right words, not more words.
    Last edited by gorgonfish; 2nd February 2013 at 4:29 AM.

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