Jeff Barr is an dark fiction writer from the Pacific Northwest. His work has appeared in Shotgun Honey, Encounters Magazine, and Black Treacle.
These words, when used as part of description, are cop-outs. If you tell your reader how things ‘seem’ or what they are ‘like’, then where is your authority?
Are you showing them what you and your characters see in the world you’ve created? Or are you telling them that you yourself are unsure, and you need them to fill in the blanks?
Show your reader what it is, not what it seems like.
From now on, whenever someone asks me what I do, I will say ‘I am busy dewarbling the frobblebats.’
Thanks to David Brady at Heart Mind Code:
Any metaphor you employ should be original while offering the reader a new perspective on the object you are describing. Ditto similes—it should be apparent to the reader exactly what you are describing, and should make her see it in a new way.
Cliches are not allowed, except in the dialogue of an unsympathetic character, or a character who is stupid or portraying stupidity. One possible exception to this rule is a novel or unexpected remixing of a cliche in a way that, like the metaphor and simile, should expose the reader to a new view.
When you list an object’s attributes in a comma delimited list, you lessen each attribute’s value.
‘The drapes were brown, coarse.’
Instead, concatenate the attributes with ‘and’.
’ The drapes were coarse and brown’.
‘The coarse brown drapes billowed in the acrid breeze’.