While I continue working on another novel for review (Black Coke), I wanted to take the opportunity to share a couple of points concerning description. Although I am not someone who is too keen on crafting the most ideal example, I do have the ability to figure out what it takes to make and detect some good examples. As I continue to buzz through the book (after reading an amazing 15 chapters or, the first 81 pages), I came across an example of really good description. Now I know that finding such a book is an interestingly rare element in the field of fiction, mostly because the writers who are into self-publishing either do not know how to write good description or because they think captivating readers with good writing skills does not make a sincere difference.
However, these two ideals are not the case. To be quite honest, most readers really do care about what we say things in our writings and how the writing turns out (as seen in my last post). Even with all the whining and hollering I receive from authors who don’t like to receive a bad review, I will point out that the only reason why I think this writing is good is because he has done a good job describing his character as seen below:
Amonite settled into her seat. George should have known better than to send a welcome party.
Derelict warehouses and sprawling blocks of low-rise council flats streamed past. Gangs of youths hung around street corners. Drunks staggered outside public parks, clutching cans of super strong lager. She checked herself in the rear-view mirror.
She knew she was ugly. Her eyes were too close, her nose too blunt, her lips too thin. Her face and neck were puffy and riven with patches of acne like a battleground after a carpet bombing. The short hair on her head was thinning way too fast for her 38 years of age. A sea of bristles was spreading on her chin with maddening determination.
She rubbed tanning cream into her face and combed her tangled strands of hair, slicking them back. She tapped three pills of Dianabol from a vial into the small of her hand. She stared at them. Then she downed them in one gulp. Who gave a damn about looking good. It was strength and power that counted.
There is a lot I can say about her. She’s not ugly just in her physique, but also in her intellectual potency, especially with the men she likes to associate. Though with her ugly physique, one can tell that beauty has become an obsession with her because she values respect for her manly vigor. Unlike the other descriptions I find from the other writers, this author has done a terrific job by finding the right moment to setup her descriptive features. Usually the best times to mention about the character’s physique are often around places of reflection like mirrors or pools. The other thing I also noticed about her is that her thoughts are revealed throughout the passage (‘who gave a damn about looking good’) because obviously looks do make much of a difference. This is perhaps the most crucial thing that an author needs to show when he has a character enter the scene.
The last thing I want to mention is the concise use of analogy. Even though I do not have an interest in knowing about the worst cases of acne, this author has done a tremendously good job in describing how bad acne can get. When I first read this passage, I was laughing pretty hard. Not only was the description relevant, but it also had an analogy to seal the deal where I can conjure up an image that I can easily think of.
Fortunately, this is what writing is all about.