"" Writer's Wanderings: Creative Travel Journaling - The Descriptive Language

Monday, August 13, 2012

Creative Travel Journaling - The Descriptive Language

A picture is worth a thousand words but a few well chosen words can paint the best pictures. Here are some tips I've picked up along the way to season your journal entries.

Beautiful is an over used word but is usually the first thing out of the mouth. Sometimes I find it most difficult to describe what I see because of the colors. One way to enhance your description is to think of colors in terms of food. Yup. It's something we can all relate to. A cherry red door. Ice blue water. Pink cotton candy sunset. Whipped cream clouds. Burnt toast bark/wood.

Like and as are great ways to give a reference for better description. The thunder came and went like a noisy car playing the bass too loud on its radio. The catfish felt as slippery as a wet slicker coated in mud.

Whenever you can, use action verbs in your journaling. Was and is are not as descriptive. The wind howled is a much stronger description than there was a strong wind. Mosquitoes feasted on my arms paints a better picture than there were a lot of mosquitoes. Remember my french bread? How about describing the sensation of smelling it like this: The fresh bread aroma floated around me, engulfing me in its enticement. Okay maybe a little over the top but you get the idea--a lot better than there was a smell of bread.

Adjectives and adverbs are okay but we can get a little too carried away with them. Again try to insert a good action verb or comparative phrase.

If you find yourself relying on or inserting a certain word too much in your writing, go back and try other ways to say the same thing or say it better. I have a problem with just and really. I have to glean what I write for those words and take them out. They really--oops, they don't add anything and weaken a good sentence.

Assignment: Take a walk through your neighborhood and practice describing things you see using action verbs and descriptive phrases for colors and textures, sounds, smells, etc. If you're lucky maybe a neighbor will invite you in for coffee and pie. Then you can practice describing tastes as well. Good luck!

Related posts:
Creative Travel Journaling - The View
                                        - The Tools
                                        - The Five Senses
                                        - The Journal

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