When describing a scene, try to make the reader experience what’s being described. Writers have an advantage over film-makers, who can show expansive vistas, and give sound effects, but cannot tell us how it smells, or how it feels on the skin.
Let’s say you are describing the scene of the kitchen of a depressed single man. You could say:
The man was a slob and kept his kitchen messy.
Instead, show us what someone experiences, using all senses:
Anna smelled rotting garbage before she entered the kitchen. An old eggshell crunched under her shoe, as she made her way inside. Pizza boxes and beer bottles lay strewn on the counter, and the sink was filled with burnt pans and greasy dishes. A steady drip from the leaky faucet sang into a saucepan, as flies buzzed over a half-eaten apple.
The above passage uses smell (garbage), feel (crunch), sight (pizza boxes and dirty dishes), and sound (drip and buzzing flies), and makes for a more effective description.
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Sunanda Chatterjee is a practicing physician in Southern California. When she is not by the microscope making diagnoses, she loves to write fiction.