This week has started a trend in the writing prompts to get you to practice certain aspects of scene building. Today, we will continue that trend.
So far we have built a scene using only dialogue and we have built a scene using no dialogue at all. Let’s work more with adjectives.
I am sure, by now, that most of you know I am opposed to long, flowery descriptions of things when it doesn’t matter. I despise reading sentences and paragraphs that drone on and on about a single item.
Often, I will use the blue-eyed person looking down the street example. This is because we tend to get into that “show don’t tell” aspect, but our inner creative wants to be powerful and poetic.
Truth is, that 99% of the time, it is just shitty writing. I have yet to read a book where knowing the MC has “steely blue eyes, like ocean currents in a pool of heavenly skies” means a damn thing to the story.
Similes, metaphors and adverbs are okay to use. Just do so sparingly.
Anyway, I digress. Today’s prompt will add a bit of flowery poetic prose into the scene building process.
Remember that it is useful when it matters. If it is important to the story, the character or the arcs, then by all means, be flowery and use prose or flowing words.
While doing so, though, understand that most of the time, it isn’t needed.
Today, we will focus on a time when it is needed.
Create a scene describing the house where the entire story will take place.
With this prompt you can have characters and dialogues if you want. But, I want you to focus on describing the house. As you can see, it is quite important as this is the sole location of the story.
You don’t need to go an describe every room, every plank of wood. Instead, think about the house as the stage. What is important that we, the reader, need to know?
For this exercise, use as many adjectives and adverbs as you see fit. Get flowery and long-winded with your sentences. Really dig in deep and get the atmosphere of the house, the feelings, joy, sorrow or fear.
Try to touch a nerve, or open a heart. Get your reader interested in the house and and ready to learn more about the story that is about to take place there.
When you are done, share with the class. Post your story in the comment section below for everyone to see!
Here is What I Came Up With
Jack’s Cadillac pulled slowly up the long gravel drive towards the house on Montgomery Avenue. The light rain falling didn’t help the eerie feeling shooting through his spine. He shouldn’t be here.
“It’s too late to think about that.” Jack said.
As the large house came into view, Jack gasped. The house was right out of a haunted story and while he knew things like ghosts and demons didn’t exist, if they did it would be here.
The three story home may have looked good in its day, but now it was run down, dilapidated and needed to be condemned. How anyone could live here was another mystery.
Where there were still shingles, the roof was bowed and cast weird shadows. The rest of the roof was patchwork of boards, repair attempts and giant holes. The roof looked to be the best part of the house to Jack.
Jack’s car bucked and protested at the sharp corners and over-sized potholes of the drive. He leaned forward and looked up through the windshield as he shifted into park.
The front door was off its hinges, old, weathered and kicked in. It used to be a yellow color, Jack guessed, but now resembled more of a dark brown from years of neglect, weather and what looked like blood.
The steps creaked and splintered under Jack’s feet and the railing that once was there was now broken and laying over the dead bushes that lined the front of the house.
Jack didn’t want to knock and he didn’t have to. Standing on the porch heard a voice from inside. The echo giving away the depth and size of the interior of the home.