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Details, Details

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Mary Hansen

on 24 September 2014

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Transcript of Details, Details

5 Senses Exercises:
There's no place like home.
She always stands up for herself, even when she's wrong.
The ocean is powerful and endless, but also peaceful.
My grandma is super old.
He's a pothead.
Avoiding Cliches
Cliche: An idea, expression, or image overused to the point that it loses its meaning or effect.
Select one of the three images that are about to be displayed on the projector screen, and set about the dirty work of describing what you see, and also imagine to smell/taste/hear/touch, in ONE paragraph. I want ALL FIVE SENSES present. Begin with a firm topic sentence that declares your "stance," and end the paragraph with a cliff-hanger that would make me want to know what comes/happens next...
"Be more specific!" Limit your idea to a precise material, a solid thingness we can experience with the 5 senses.
"Use concrete details!" Again. Something of the 5 senses.
"Vague!" This means I can't see it, or feel it... that you haven't portrayed it with enough specificity.
"Too abstract..." The quality you're describing is not attached to a particular thing.
Details, Details
Vague Abstractions Are Your Enemy
Details = The Lifeblood of Good Writing
The truth is in the details
When we set out to write an emotion, we tend to depend on lofty
language, resulting
in flat, imageless
writing that fails to
evoke "true" feeling.
Getting at the Heart
of Your Essay's "Big" Idea
Example: Love and Lust
Write in the physical world, not the emotional one. Let what is real and material--that which we can see, touch, taste, smell, and hear--do the emotional work. Ondaajte relies on sensory images, particularly smell, to portray his relationship with his lover. Shihan uses ordinary details: "My name with your last name," "Talking on the phone for hours not saying shit," "Post it love notes around the house" to discuss love.
When you use the five senses, you begin to build scene. This is the crucial difference between telling a reader what the truth is, and letting a reader experience the truth for themselves. And it's more fun the read!
Peas in a pod.You only live once. The bacon sizzled. Hot as hell. Blind as a bat. Salt of the earth. Quick as lightning. Perfect storm. A kind soul. American as apple pie. Avoid like the plague. Bite the dust. Black as coal. Bored to tears. Boys will be boys. Drinks like a fish. Voice of an angel. Ivory tower. Keep an eye on. Labor of love. Money to burn.
On a roll. On cloud nine. On the rocks. On the
money. A can of worms. A pot to piss in.
Full transcript