Word Painting: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively

by Rebecca McClanahan

Paperback, 2000




Writer's Digest Books (2000), Edition: New edition, 256 pages


Paint Masterful Descriptions on the Page! Writing strong descriptions is an art form, one that you need to carefully develop and practice. The words you choose to describe your characters, scenes, settings, and ideas--in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction--need to precisely illustrate the vision you want to convey. Word Painting Revised Edition shows you how to color your canvas with descriptions that captivate readers. Inside, you'll learn how to:    * Develop your powers of observation to uncover rich, evocative descriptions.    * Discover and craft original and imaginative metaphors and similes.    * Effectively and accurately describe characters and settings.    * Weave description seamlessly through your stories, essays, and poems. You'll also find dozens of descriptive passages from master authors and poets--as well as more than one hundred exercises--to illuminate the process. Whether you are writing a novel or a poem, a memoir or an essay, Word Painting Revised Edition will guide you in the creation of your own literary masterpiece.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member McGrewc
More for the literary than the genre writer but thought provoking nonetheless.
LibraryThing member brebirch
This book is a must read for any writer wanting to take their craft to the next level.
LibraryThing member ForeverMasterless
A decent book with a lot of good advice, but man can it be long-winded at times. It starts to drag about halfway through and entirely loses focus by the end, delving into territory that's covered much better, and in greater detail, by other books.

Honestly, if this book were half as long it would've been twice as good, because the beginning is actually pretty great. I loved the section on metaphor, simile, and other figures of speech, for instance, but the absolute best thing I took away from this book is "the proper and special name of a thing" which is something McClanahan stole from Aristotle, though I do not begrudge her for it because she lays it out so perfectly and so clearly (and also because she flat-out admits that fact right away). It is the relatively simple and, one might think, obvious idea that naming something, properly, does more to implant the image of that thing in the reader's mind than a paragraph of description would.
That concept, and phrase, which is almost like a mantra, just clicked with me in a way that so few things do, and I will never, ever forget it.
… (more)


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