Friday, June 1, 2012

Writing Good Prose

“For me, a page of good prose is where one hears the rain [and] the noise of battle."  -John Cheever

Although you don’t want to write a page-long paragraph describing a room, what you do want is prose that will bring to life the events in your story. 

Is there a thunderstorm in your book? Describe it so that your readers can visualize a streak of lightning, hear the crack of thunder and see a steady downpour of rain. If the storm is intense let your reader feel its intensity through your words.

Disney's Hollywood Studios Christmas lightshow.
How would you describe this picture so your readers could visualize the lights?
Photo by Chrys Fey

Is there a fight in your book? Let your reader hear the clatter of colliding blades and the shrill of gunfire. Help them to see the blood and sense the agony. Describe how a character moves so they feel as if they are beside them on the battlefield.

Do your main characters share a kiss? Make the readers feel as though they are receiving that kiss and not just reading about it. Tell your readers about their rising heart rates, the flavors they taste from each other’s mouths, and the eagerness of their hands.

TIP: To write good prose use the five senses: 
  • Sight
  • Taste
  • Smell
  • Touch
  • Sound

And don’t forget that adjectives are your friends!

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