Using Descriptive Detail

Fiction

Cara McDonald, GTA - Department of English 
Look. Your reader is a bored, tired little person, maybe sitting at a bus stop. Take care of them. Transport them. Let them smell your mom's coffee, let them see the ugly flowers on that dress you had to wear on the first day of Sunday School.

Mary Kate Perry, GTA - Department of English 
One of my favorite ways of explaining the importance of vivid description in fiction writing is E.L. Doctorow's "Not that it's raining, but the feel of being rained upon." You don't tell your reader that it's rainy, because they won't care. They won't identify. You have to make them care through speaking to their senses. We perceive the world through our senses.

In fiction writing, it is important to make your scenes and characters as vivid as possible. One way this can be accomplished is through the inclusion of descriptive details. Fiction which incorporates original sensory description has the power to actively involve and affect the reader. Without such details, fiction is in danger of becoming listless or flat. Description is equally as important as dialogue and plot in moving forward the action of a story.

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Introduction