Wednesday, September 30, 2009

descriptions come to life

Coming from a picturebook background, I struggle with writing description. I often tell students how after sending in my first draft of The Year of the Dog my editor sent it back to me with the note "You need to add at least 2-4 description on each page." This was because I hadn't written ANY. In picturebooks, there are always illustrations so I never had to write description before. Now, I had to learn.

And one of authors I studied was, of course, Lucy Maud Montgomery. Even if you don't like the Anne books, you should have the deepest respect for her ability to create beautiful images from words. And, while visiting PEI, my admiration for her only increased. So much of what she had written was exactly like the land around me.

From the red earth,
to the placid animals,
(Squatchie & I dubbed this the "oreo cow")

to the mirroring water,the sapphire blue gulfs,
and the silver and gold light:
"The sun had set some time since, but the landscape was still clear in the mellow afterlight. To the west a dark church spire rose up against a marigold sky. Below was a little valley and beyond a long, gently-rising slope with snug farmsteads scattered along it."
-LM Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables