A Guest Post by Rayne Hall
Specific words make a story vivid because they paint a clear picture for the reader.
“A woman with a dog” creates only a vague picture. By replacing “woman” and “dog” with specific words you can bring your story alive:
“A lady with a poodle”
“A tart with a mongrel”
“A gothgirl with a puppy”
“A redhead with a Rottweiler”
“The man looked like a sports champion” is bland. Show us what kind of man and what kind of sports, and the sentence becomes interesting:
“The gentleman looked like a fencing champion.”
“The thug looked like a boxing champion.”
“The salesman looked like a sumo champion.”
Instead of the dull description with generic words “This garden is full of flowers of all kinds” show the kind of flowers to paint a picture:
“This garden is full of roses, honeysuckles, and hollyhocks” – The reader sees a cottage garden.
“This garden is full of crocuses, daffodils and tulips.” – The reader sees a garden in spring.
“The garden is full of daisies, dandelions and thistles.” – The reader sees a garden overgrown with weeds.
Before tackling your own manuscript, you may want to practice on these sentences. Use your imagination to replace the underlined generic words with specific ones.
I went further down the road until I came to a building half hidden by trees.
She put on her new dress and shoes and applied make-up.
For dinner, he ate meat with vegetables.
Have fun. If you like, post your versions as comments. I look forward to reading them.