Through the Eye of the Beholder


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In "Love's Labour's Lost", Shakespeare expressed a similar sentiment, "Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye". You've probably heard these types of sayings a thousand times before, but do you understand the true value when it comes to writing descriptions? Most blogs or articles on writing give the usual advice about description. Whether describing characters, settings, or a scene, authors are told to use vivid verbs and colorful modifiers. Authors should write with all their senses—including touch, taste, and smell—and blend description into action so it flows seamlessly with the story. All of this is sage advice, but to really elevate description, one needs to write from the eye of the beholder.This means writing from the eye, the point-of-view, of the characters.We are very visual beings. When we see something, we cannot help but infuse it with our own thoughts and feelings. We all color the world with our own emotions and experiences. When friends describe us, they see the best side of us. When an enemy describes us, they see our worst faults. When we speak of a beloved home, we use warm, glowing words. When we describe a place we fear, we use words tinged with nightmares. In a similar way, writers should color their descriptions with the likes, loves, hates, passions, and prejudices of their characters.

Read the entire article in the March 2016 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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