Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How to write a story - Description

"From two-thousand feet, where Claudette Saunders was taking a flying lesson, the town of Chester's Mill gleamed in the morning light like something freshly made and just set down. Cars trundled along Main Street, flashing up winks of sun. The steeple of the Congo Church looked sharp enough to pierce the unblemished sky. The sun raced along the surface of the Prestile Stream as the Seneca V overflew it, both plane and water cutting the  town on the same diagonal course."

Here is a short descriptive passage written by someone who shall, for the moment, remain nameless. What I would like all of you to do is read it and tell me what you think. What do you like about this? What sense about the story do you get from this beginning? And if you do know who wrote this, keep it to yourself for the moment. I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts on this paragraph before I reveal the author...

...which I will do on Friday along with my thoughts about this paragraph :)


  1. Ooo...I hate not knowing who I'm critiquing, but I didn't get a good visual. I got lost at "something freshly made and just set down."

  2. Personally, I like to see my descriptions through the protag's eyes. It's a bit wordy. I do like how the cars send "flashing up winks of sun" and how the plane cuts in the same diagonal course as the town. There's quite a bit about the sun in the paragraph.

    Although the description seems idyllic, I have a feeling that something is going to go wrong. It may just be me, though.

  3. First sentence is a bit long, but it's descriptive and interesting enough without being too much.

  4. upbeat & bright! maybe take out a "sun" but definitely a cheery scene!

  5. I like the image of the town "gleaming in the morning light", but find the description "something freshly made and just set down" to be awkward. Cars "trundled"? Unusual. I like the visuals of "flashing up winks of sun" (although I'd leave out the "up") and the sun "racing" along the stream. The contrast of all the words evoking images of light with the harsh words ... sharp, pierce, and cut ... is striking, telling me that all is not as idyllic as it seems.

    1. funny you should mention the words sharp, pierce, and cut. This is actually a duplicate of my post over at Unicorn Bell (my other blog which I share) and one of the commenters picked up on exactly the same thing.

  6. I'm pretty ambivalent towards it. It made me think the town was more important than the character.

  7. I like it. It's sort of idyllic. Though then there are sharper words, like piercing the sky and cutting the land that maybe indicate more. For some reason it feels familiar, so I'm wondering if I've read the author.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  8. thank you all for coming by. It was interesting to read what everyone thought about this first paragraph, Can't wait to share the author with you all tomorrow :)

  9. I had a hard time getting an image of this going in my head. I even stopped after a couple of sentences and tried to go slower and it still didn't work. :(


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