Thursday, November 12, 2009

Some descriptive writing

I love descriptive writing! I found some interesting pieces that I wrote awhile back and thought I would share them with you tonight. Some of the places I describe are exotic, some are descriptive sentences I liked that I wrote at some point, and some are examples I really liked from other writers. Sensory writing is area of writing to develop as it allows the reader to "see" what you see and carries them along vicariously into the plot of a story, or a great feature article.

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My garden in UAE:

The branches of my Neem tree hung still, as if silently offering up its precious leaves, which if boiled are believed to cure a number of illnesses. Delicate pink, fuchsia and peach bougainvillea petals lay scattered at the base of their trees like sugared petals artfully trailing down the sides of a pure white wedding cake, soft colors accenting the union of two hopeful lives. In contrast, the vibrant red hibiscus flowers burst out boldly in front by my wall and again beside the house, looking an even deeper red in the evening light. The fronds of my date tree shiver in the slight breeze as two sacs of ripening dates droop low like heavily swollen breasts needing to purge themselves.

The Egyptian street café in January

The first aroma that hits you as you come upon the café is the tangy, apple tobacco set upon the small, white burning coals of the popular “shisha,” a centuries-old water pipe tradition that exits in place of cigarette smoking. The scent curls around the pipes and entices you to linger over tiny glasses of very sweet dark tea, the sprigs of fresh mint overpoweringly fragrant as the steam pours off the glass set before you.

The wind that blows up from the plane is called the loo. It churns all day, hot and restless, throwing handfuls of dirt into the air and making the water in my mouth turn to mud. It cries all night too, blowing its feverish breath through the cracks in our walls, speaking its name again and again. “Loo,” it wails, announcing itself all over the land. “Looooooo…”
--Patricia McCormick, Sold (Hyperion), 2006, p. 19.

I heard the tinkling of her bell and looked up and saw my little speckled goat wandering around the schoolyard, bleating in despair. When finally she spotted me through the window, she bahhed with wounded pride, indignant at being left behind. She marched across the yard, propped her hooves upon the windowsill and looked in with keen and curious eyes as the teacher finished the lesson. When school was over and we climbed the hill toward home, Tali trotted ahead, her stubby tail held high. “Next week,” I promised her, “we will work on our spelling.”
--Patricia McCormick, Sold (Hyperion), 2006, p. 6.

A simple sentence with a powerful action verb

A short, fat, purple candle with plump cheeks that reminded me of Santa Clause spoke up.
-- Max Lucado, “Edges and Whispers” taken from God came Near: Chronicles of the Christ (Multinomah Press), 1987.

The heat of the Egyptian sun slid behind the waves of tranquil red sea in our tiny paradise.
-- Amy Bovaird, taken from “Honeymoon Celebration” [a poem], June 1996.

The steely sky with its dark-tinged clouds feels heavy, and for Israel it is almost as if he carries an extra burden, like a woman balancing a heavy wash basket on her head as she walks.
-- Lalita Tademy, Red River (Wheeler Publishing, 2007), 23.

A sentence with a vivid metaphor

Though I continued walking on elasticized legs, my soul started running with God.
-- Amy Bovaird, “Tread Softly Along the Camel Trail” devotional, October 2006.

I never want to lose my delight in this sport because I learned today that God is a great champion skater but He is also my close partner skating on the arena with me.
-- Amy Bovaird, “Ice Skater’s Delight” devotional, June 2003.

Now my words become ballerinas leaping eagerly, in charge of their own movement, no longer driven by great gusts of air, or pocketed carelessly in gutters, no longer passive.
-- Amy Bovaird, “Overcoming Writer’s Block” letter, December 2005.

Widow...that sounds like an eighty year old lady dressed in black, an old shriveled up lady crooning to herself, going half mad
-- Amy Bovaird, “Is it Christmas Yet?” short story, February 2005.

My Lord is forming me as meticulously as I fashion my ideas. I select each word with certainty, looking for grace, subtlety and beauty – diverse qualities but each integral to my writing, and now I discover -- to my being. Suddenly I feel like a work of art...beautiful strokes of calligraphy gifted to me, composing the wonderful person God is crafting me to be. This peacefulness I’ve ached to have these past few days fills the canvas of my spirit, sure strokes that leave no doubt within me. God is looking after me.
-- Amy Bovaird, “Seeking Strength of Thought” Essay, December 2005.

Day's End, Lord Hear My Heart

It’s somewhere around 11 pm and the house looms dark except for my office where I sit at the computer. I can hear the distant sound of music from behind the closed door of my brother’s room but I know he’s been sleeping for some time. As I step out into the hall and steal down the stairs the silence meets with darkness and a familiar melancholy engulfs me. I think I’ve had this feeling since I was a child alone in the solitude just before slumber -- but now it almost always overwhelms me for a few minutes each night. It’s sorrow the day has gone, uncertainty for the future, loneliness that everyone is asleep and thus, somehow vulnerable, and lastly, it encompasses life’s fragility.
-- Amy Bovaird "Reflections at the End of Day" Essay, January 2007.

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