Using Descriptive Detail

Example: Add Sight

Gandmother Workman lurched over and grabbed the pale skin of Randal's thin forearm with her leathery hand. The folds and creases beneath her skin coiled themselves out like electrical wiring, like the bloated, roughly-textured relief map of the world that his mother just posted above his bedside table. Randal looked ahead toward the winding spiral staircase, fidgeted with a small hole in his baseball jersey, and bit his lip. His mouth filled with the sweet, coppery taste of blood as she leaned in closely toward him, breathing her hot breath on the damp hair at the base of his neck. She smelled of wet cigarettes and bacon. As they slowly climbed the long, steep staircase, the only sound was his grandmothers' labored breathing and the mournful creak of the wooden stairs.

Comment: Visual details are often successfully incorporated into writing. Details which appeal to our sense of sight ensure that the reader is able to give faces to characters, or add concrete details to a setting. For example, through adding visual detail, a room can become more than just a blank, vague receptacle. It becomes a small, oblong room with peeling maroon wallpaper and cracked ceiling tiles. A visual description allows readers to place themselves within a text.

In the sample text, visual details help accomplish this through encouraging the reader to create a mental image of the characters, setting, and action.

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