This blog by Cher’ley Grogg
She swooped into the book store. Her fiery red lipstick matched her bright red dress which fit her like the skin on an apple. She wore too much sky blue, eye shadow and her cheeks flashed as pink as a Florida Flamingo. Her fluffy, black hair with white roots resembled a bird’s nest. She batted her dark black, fake eyelashes at the clerk. She tilted her head to the side, with a slight smile, and then she licked her lips before she leaned toward the young man. It didn’t seem to bother her that he drew back. She continued with sultry movements, tossing her hair and sticking one curvy hip out. When she was sure she had his full attention she leaned in showing a little cleavage and whispered in her huskiest voice, which now sounded cacophonous, “Where are your books on knitting?”
Did you enjoy this paragraph? I could have said, “The cougar walked into the book store and asked where the knitting books were.”
I’ve been studying descriptive paragraphs this week. Here’s a clip about deepening the elements. Follow the link to this blog Writing for Success. for a little more about these next couple of sentences. Grey the color of storm ready sky or the ironic half-smile the felt as familiar to me as a hug. A little more research revealed an essay about the development of entertainment media and how the instructor broke it all down.
In it, she describes TV-watching in her family to make a point about how central TV was as a form of entertainment in the 60’s.
(1) As I was growing up in the 60’s, television was the only entertainment my family knew of the electronic sort. (2) The 7 o’clock nightly news was such an important part of our family that my dad knocked a wall down and built a huge cabinet in its place just to accommodate our 19-inch black and white. (3) No one was allowed to talk or make a sound when the television was on; all eyes were glued to the moving and flickering image. The box commanded absolute respect.(4) In the daytime, “the television needs its rest” my mother would say, as she patted its pseudo-wooden top and covered it with a doilie she had made herself. (5)There is no doubt that TV was as central to our lives as it was to the lives of all our friends during that period. (adapted from an essay by Angeline Chan, used with permission.)
- Notice the writer’s use of action verbs (knocked, glued) and her use of sensory words (19- inch, black and white, huge, talk, sound, flickering)) to paint a picture of the scene in her living room. In the final sentence, she states the main point of the paragraph: that TV was central in families’ lives during the 60’s. The appearance of a topic sentence at the end of a paragraph, rather than at the beginning is common in descriptive paragraphs, and it works well for this kind of development.
Do you think about these elements when you’re writing?
Give me an example of your descriptive paragraph.
I have a hard time writing descriptive language, because my first writing instructor taught me to be as frugal with words as I could when writing. I don’t think I actually caught on to what he was teaching, but I mostly wrote stripped down paragraphs. Now I’m trying to re-educate myself.
It hasn’t been that long ago since I had a little B/W TV in our bedroom.
It got the UHF channel on which we watch PBS and retro shows. I loved Bonanza, B/W or colored.
Do you have suggestions or thoughts about my being retrained or the blog in general? Let’s roll up our sleeves and get descriptive.
Cher’ley’s Books are listed below and on sale at Amazon and local bookstores. And she has a new one that is freshly published with 11 other authors. She will have 3 more coming out this summer.
“The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren
Boys Will Be Boys The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys-An Anthology
And please join me on my Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of my most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell
Here’s a link to Cher’ley’s WEBSITE