Chances are you’d tell me how it looks. Amiright?
The thing is, there’s more to it than that. Description can include how something feels to the touch, how it smells, how it tastes, and how it sounds.
Stop limiting your descriptions to what you can see – it’s one more easy way to make your writing a lot more compelling. Check the video!
It’s hard to be creative on command, but here’s a simply way to make things more interesting for you… and for your readers.
Try the easy technique I explain in this 90-second video.
Don’t tell them it’s “great” or “interesting” or anything that depends on your opinion.
Instead, describe it literally and precisely.
A lesson from the beach!
Can you convey your idea in 90 seconds? Can you do it persuasively?
Whether it’s for reporters, investors, clients, partners, or anyone else, there’s a lot to learn about pitching from screenwriters. Here’s my recent finalist pitch for a screenplay, along with a nice set of dos and don’ts from screenwriting pros. Even if what you do is worlds away from the movie business, we get better at what we do–and set ourselves apart–when we go outside our own field.
(Image via The Independent)
Don't just rehash the events. That's not compelling. A story is always about overcoming an obstacle. When your boss wants to tell a story -- how he or she succeeded, why the business does so well, how they paid for college -- begin by finding the problem that got solved. No problem = No story. First, find the problem. Everything else is secondary.
When you're telling a story in a speech, op-ed, essay, or anywhere else, begin telling the story when the action is already underway -- a punch is thrown, a response is given, or trouble is on its unstoppable way. Your instinct is probably to set everything up first, then build to the first big moment. Nope. Start in the middle of that first big thing.
Robert McKee is the most popular screenwriting teacher in the world. If you saw the movie Adaptation, you saw a fictionalized version of him as the screenwriting teacher there. McKee's point below is valuable advice for any kind of writing: we feel things more profoundly when we arrive at the feeling on our own. In other words, someone can tell us how to feel, or give us facts that lead us to the feeling. The second form, leading them to the feeling, is always more impactful.
Tell me you're sad and I'll hear you. Stand there and weep and I'll rush to your aid. It's an example of what playwrights and screenwriters know: show, don't tell.