Tips For Success


 Tips for Success: Descriptive Writing  by Deborah Lyn Stanley

Descriptive details make your stories and articles successful. But you must promote your work. Get your work in magazines, post online, or write the book or script you’ve been envisioning!

I’m reading The Story Cure by Dinty W. Moore. Chapter 2 presents beginnings that work and those that don’t. For today’s readers, we need to start strong and get to it. Dive into the story without lengthy flourish but not stiff hard-as-rock description. Dinty also cautions against awkward similes, and lengthy exposition that makes for taking a nap.

In addition, Rebecca McClanahan talks about descriptive writing denoting an atmosphere beneath our stories, poems, or essays. The language of description shapes the tone, and points to an underlying theme, the depth of the subject. Descriptive writing creates mood. There is so much more to our writing than scene, characters, dialogue, figures of speech, senses, mood and POV. Let’s call it atmosphere. How we pull a message all together matters; our delivery matters and effects how our readership can or cannot receive our message.

Sounds complicated, so how we proceed? I suggest, write your message from your heart first. Make it personable. As you polish the draft, consider the tips and techniques offered here to help polish your piece. For example, maybe the overall tone, voice inflection and body language, doesn’t support the theme or premise of the essay. You’ll want to make changes to align the tone with the theme.

Scenes bring the reader a firsthand view of the action. Exposition describes the what and the why. Using scenes, exposition, and telling shape the narrative. Blend and balance for delightful reading.
Readers want personable, well-written works they relate to, and find beneficial. Let’s give them our best shot.

Do you have words from your basket to share with us? Please add your favorites as you share on social media. We’d enjoy seeing them! Don’t have favorites yet? Consider sensory adjectives, strong verbs, and nouns from online lists or Thesaurus.
Nouns List:
Strong Verb List:

Book List:
•    The Story Cure, a Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir, by Dinty W. Moore
•    Word Painting, by Rebecca McClanahan

Earlier Post links in this series—Descriptive Writing for Fiction and Non-Fiction:
Write Strong:
Tips for Balancing Action and Exposition:

Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts. 

Visit her writer’s website at:   

Visit her caregiver’s website:

Available on Amazon --- Mom & Me: A Story of Dementia and the Power of God’s Love

Facebook: Deborah Lyn Stanley, Writer


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Terry Whalin said...

Deborah Lyn,

Thanks for these insights about adding descriptive writing. I like what you said about how to start--with what is in your heart. I've found it is the best place to begin the writing process and get your words moving forward.


lastpg said...

What a terrific article with many resources for writers to enhance our work. Thank you, Deborah!

Karen Cioffi said...

Deborah, thanks for the helpful article. LOL It does sound complicated, doesn't it. Use description to create the story's atmosphere, but don't use too much.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

@Karen Cioffi, it gets easier when we get more into technique. Lots of description doesn't look like description to us. It's part of dialogue, as an example. The way a speak observes her surrounding or other characters and it's done in a tagline. Stuff like that. Generally, the less observable it is, the more effective. I like your idea @DeborahLyn about just relaxing and "being personable." You have plenty of time to worry (and edit) later!

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