Using Descriptive Detail

Describing Absences

Effective observation does more that merely report data. While observation requires an explanation of the persons or things which are present, often a more thorough, layered text through can be created through also revealing the things which are not present. For example, if a writer wished to describe a young woman getting dressed for her wedding day, it would be necessary to explain what she was wearing: an antique dress with a satin train, plain white pumps with a faint black scuff on the toe, and her future mother-in-law's ugly, yellowed veil. All these details are important. But much could also be explained about the woman's emotional state by also observing what was missing: a smile.

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Introduction