Her body is not your bedroom, it is not a place for you to rest your weary head and then leave in a mess in search of greater adventures. Her body is a home, but not for you, it is a sanctuary for her and her alone.
We’ve all been warned about the dangers of using too much description. Readers don’t want to read three paragraphs about a sunset, we’re told. Description slows down a story; it’s boring and self-indulgent. You should keep your description as short and simple as possible. For those who take a more scientific approach to writing fiction, arbitrary rules abound: One sentence per paragraph. One paragraph per page. And, for god’s sake, “Never open a book with weather” (Elmore Leonard).
But what this conventional wedding wisdom fails to take into account is the difference between static and dynamic description. Static description is usually boring. It exists almost like a painted backdrop to a play. As the name suggests, it doesn’t move, doesn’t interact or get interacted with.
There were clouds in the sky. Her hair was red with hints of orange. The house had brown carpeting and yellow countertops.
In moderation, there’s nothing wrong with static description. Sometimes, facts are facts, and you need to communicate them to the reader in a straightforward manner.
But too much static description, and readers will start to skim forward. They don’t want to read about what the house looks like or the stormy weather or the hair color of each of your protagonist’s seventeen cousins.
Why? Because they can tell it’s not important. They can afford to skip all of your description because their understanding of the story will not be impacted.
That’s where dynamic description comes in. Dynamic description is a living entity. It’s interactive, it’s relevant. It takes on the voices of your narrators and characters. In short, it gives us important information about the story, and it can’t be skimmed over.
So how do you make your description more dynamic so that it engages your readers and adds color and excitement to your story? Here are a few tips.
(I have a TON more tips about setting and description. These are just a few. But I’m trying to keep this short, so if you have any questions or want more advice about this, please feel free to ask me.)
Her mother told her she could grow up to be anything she wanted be, so she grew up to become the strongest of the strong, the strangest of the strange, the wildest of the wild, the wolf leading wolves.
Nikita Gill, For The Red Riding Hood Who Was The Wolf
mom thinks i’m bright
but not vivid enough to illuminate the world
to her, i am merely a firefly trapped in a mason jar
i just wish she’d poke holes in the lid
- not only because she’s suffocating me -
but so i could at least pretend they’re stars
How do you know you’re happy? Truely happy? And not just pleased with a situation or satisfied with a result?“ I asked.
He thought of his answer for a moment and a shy smile was tugging on the corners of his lips, "When you aren’t living for the week ends any longer, when a Tuesday feels just as worthy as a Saturday and when you fall asleep easily on a Sunday night, that’s when you know it’s permanent.
I am teaching myself how to take up space. How to not apologise constantly for the way I live and breathe. How an apology isn’t something I am supposed to say before I speak in a conversation. How I’m so sorry, isn’t something I have to say before I just allow myself the basic right of speaking about anything.
I am teaching myself that I am allowed to exist on this planet without thinking of myself as a burden. How to not apologise for things that are out of my control. How to understand when people are trying to manipulate me into thinking the worst of myself and most of all how to stop thinking the very worst of myself as I deserve better than that from myself.
I am teaching myself that humans can exist without assuming the very worst about themselves and how the people around them perceive them. How to not apologise when someone bumps into me and I immidiately assume it is my fault. How to not apologise when I ask a question because I think others will think I am stupid. How to love myself for these flawed bits of me no one has ever wanted to love before.
I am teaching myself that all the lies my abusers told me about myself were so very wrong. How I am allowed to make mistakes. How as long as I apologise and amend things, anything is fixable if I still have love in my heart for the other person. How not everything that has ever gone wrong in every relationship is my fault.
I am finally learning how to take up space as a human being. It’s taken a long, long road to get here. And I still have a very long way to go before I am done understanding that it is my job to take up space, that I am not just an afterthought or a secondary character in this gift of life I have been given. That who I am is not an apology, that who I am is not wrong.
She bears pain better than most and that’s why people do not think she is struggling. They do not recognise she is hurting each time her lungs inhale and exhale, how every breath feels like a dozen stab wounds.