The Heart and Craft of Writing Compelling Description needs a new name. It should be called “Every Writer’s Bible.” It needs to be read and reread. It needs to be carried around with you. It needs to get worn and tattered with underlines and margin notes because you keep referring to it so often.
Author Sharon M. Lippincott likes the word savor – a perfect word for this book. It’s one to be savored throughout all your writing endeavors no matter in which genre you write: nonfiction, life story, memoir, fiction. You’ll find what you’re looking for to help you write better descriptions in this book.
This wonderful resource is an anthology of Sharon Lippincott’s posts from her blog, The Heart and Craft of Life Writing. She says,
“I find the topic of writing description endlessly fascinating and will continue to explore and post about it as long as my fingers keep moving. Meanwhile, use the tips in this anthology to practice writing and stretching your imagination. Your writing will build stronger connections with readers and lift them aloft on the wings of vivid, effective description."
Other reviewers have quoted their favorite passages from this book. Here is mine from the section on looking closely:
“…if you look across an expanse of meadow, you primarily see an even green field. But drop to your knees with a magnifying glass, and look closely. You'll see blades of grass growing in different directions and an infinite variety of shades of green. Some grass is glossy and other types are a bit rough and ‘fuzzy.’ You may see clover, a few dandelions, some oxalis, or plantains. You may see buzzing bees, gnats, ants or ladybugs. Smell the scent of loam, or the cow pies nearby. Feel the sunshine on your shoulders and the coolness of the damp earth. Up close, that meadow is a busy, fascinating place, full of life, sensations and fascinating reminders to write…with scintillating description.”
Isn’t that a great word – scintillating? But I’ll bet Sharon will tell you to avoid using it when writing description. She’ll ask you to write down the details to show what you see, as she does in the paragraph above, instead of using telling descriptive words like scintillating, sparkling, amazing, awesome. In this book, she shows you how. And I predict you’ll have lots of fun learning.
I’m writing a novel now. The Heart and Craft of Writing Compelling Description will stay by my side until I’m finished.
About the author:
Sharon Lippincott is hooked on all forms of life writing, especially memoir and journaling. She’s a dedicated lifelong learner and loves sharing discoveries with others. She teaches classes and workshops on basic memoir and lifestory writing as well as specific skills like writing vivid description in the Pittsburgh area and online. Her book, The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing has helped thousands create written legacies of their lives and her award-winning blog, The Heart and Craft of Life Writing, which began in 2007, has been read by hundreds of thousands of visitors. She serves on the Advisory Board of the National Association of Memoir Writers and mentors lifestory writing groups in Allegheny County libraries and around the country.
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