Focusing on Description

Focusing on Description
Image provided by Janice Hardy

Over at Fiction University, Janice Hardy challenges her readers with writing exercises. Actually, she calls them prompts but she always wants the participants to concentrate on specific perspectives. I usually pass these activities by because I feel I’m doing okay on the particular focus for that time around.

However, I’ve been struggling with descriptions as of late. I used to be skilled at this, but somewhere along the way, I’ve lost a big chunk of my finesse. I’m pretty sure my only problem is I’ve gotten lazy and, therefore, out of practice.


I’m to use the photo above, describing what is in the picture using all senses I want except for sight. I’m most definitely a visual person so this is a huge challenge.

Here goes…

The air was chilled from the lack of sunlight in the woods that day. It was a clear indication of colder days to come as autumn set in amongst the trees and lower vegetation. The slight sting of  crispness on my face felt exhilarating, making me want to run along the hardened dirt trails the deer had carved out for their daily constitutionals.

The bubbling of the water as it rolled over the stones in the creek bed was the only sound I heard at first. Everything seems so still and quiet. I wondered if the creatures of the forest were hiding from something other than me because I wasn’t even detecting any far-off birdsong. Walking close to the water’s edge, I become aware of the other life around me. There was a rustling of leaves and twigs a little way up the hill to my right. Moving on to where the path left the creek, I heard scurrying behind me. Although I was quick to turn my head, whatever it was had escaped my sight.

The fern, pine and maple, along with the bark of the tree trunks and the dirt below gave an earthy fragrance that invited contemplation and self-discovery. The feeling of serenity and harmony began to wash over me, giving a warmth I didn’t expect on such a nippy fall afternoon.

My spirit resounded with peace and clarity as I made my way back to my almost-adequate abode.

~ G. J. Jolly

Any thoughts, opinions, or suggestions out there?


Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression. The chasm is never completely bridged. We all have the conviction, perhaps illusory, that we have much more to say than appears on the paper. ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

8 thoughts on “Focusing on Description

  1. Such an important exercise, Glynis, and not an easy one for most of us. And finding ways to infuse active voice and eliminating passive voice in these passages is even more of a challenge. As an example: “There was a rustling of leaves” versus “The leaves rustled.” (passive was first and active was second)
    Writing is rewriting, right?
    Well done and carry on!

    Liked by 1 person

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