I hope that my writing tips will give you pause for thought, help develop your writing or even provide a hint of inspiration. Come back soon to see the next tip.
I recently read a trilogy of novels by the Glasgow writer: Guy McCrone, re-printed by B&W Publishers. What struck me so forcibly about his writing was the attention to detail in his descriptions, his sense of place and depth of emotional detail.
He loved the family in his story and the city around him. His vivid writing brought them all to life. It evoked for me Glasgow at the turn of the twentieth century just before my parents were born there.
Writers have to keep reading and learning their craft, however, many books they have published. McCrone’s attention to detail challenged mine and brought me up short with the realisation that if those details are telling and abundant, the work is so much the richer. Sounds simple enough, but so easy to get slipshod and rushed when painting a scene with words.
It is often the little asides that catch the mood; how the papery leaves skate along the pavement in the breeze, that certain smell of oil and tar and dust in a shipyard, the way the mist swirls across water at dusk and how trees drip after rain. Often nature can capture the mood of the character.
What I also found so endearing was the way he enriched characters as they went about their business by setting them in the street with others, the cinematic effect of how they walked, dressed in fashion or not, the fabrics they used. All basic stuff, you might say, but in the rush to tell a story we can so easily skip these telling details.
Using every sense shows we know our stuff. What can we smell, hear, touch, feel that enriches the scene so our readers can imagine being there themselves?
Good writers take us with them on their journey, helping us live within the pages, but not by imposing impressive layers of description that are empty of warmth and real observation. I want my reader to nod and smile in recognition at some of these observations. “Yes, it’s just like that…”
Observing the crusts, dusts and minutiae shows we know what we’re talking about. What’s around you, right now; objects, images, tell tale signs that show your character and their world? Look, learn and listen…Shut your eyes and see them as they live before you. If you can’t see them in that third eye, perhaps you don’t quite know them well enough yet...
Enjoy your writing!