Writing Woes: Description

As I write Solarpunk (we’ll settle on this name now) I come to grasp with the things I feel comfortable doing and the things I’m well aware I’m not so good at and it does ultimately come down to one thing (see title): description. My woes become quickly apparent, I’m not very good at describing things. It boils down to two things in particular, the tangible environments and, this is actually a very minor thing… facial expressions.

If I went through my current work, I’d quickly figure out that a lot of characters smile, smirk, grin or just frown (with an occasional sneering or snarl). I feel like I’m missing another dimension to it. I’m going to try to rectify that by first reading up on how other authors approach it, seeing it in the books I read and just looking at visual facial expressions and coming up with other ways to describe them.

I could add things like character descriptions and fights and to a degree it would be accurate but I’m rather comfortable with over-the-top choreographed fights in the vein that you’ll see (have seen) in Deeds of Violence. I think I’ll be adopting a more over-the-top fighting styles to Solarpunk as well to give them more style. There’s a particular chapter where one of the characters is in a sort of ‘fight club’ locale which means that, no shit, she gets into a lot of fist fights. Maybe a bit more UFC or MMA in general would help me but I’ve always been partial to the theatrics of professional wrestling so why not make those fights more theatrical too and sort of bend the physics of this world (it is fantasy after all).

The other major issue is description of the environment in general. I know what I’m envisioning. Minimalistic white cubic buildings with glass aplenty and solar panels for energy and the grass and trees sort of melding into it. In one of the first major chapters we have the infiltration of this big skyscraper akin to that aforementioned model but I can’t really seem to find the right words for what I’m looking for. The biggest issue? The wide variety of ships that appear. I’ve come up with the easy solution to imagining their sizes (there’s a variety between Class-F to Class-S, it’s an easy of getting the reader to imagine them relatively), but really describing the way they appear, the way they’re distinct from each other beyond their names, the way the pilots and the crew members value the ship as an extension, that’s still beyond me. I think when I go back to it, a lot of the text beefing will come from me taking the time to visualizing these things, I’m not talking about going beyond to the point where it’s a meandering paragraph describing the most worthless of detail, but giving the readers the same vision I have is important. Right now, the reader wouldn’t even know what sort of ship it was, and aside from the size or this particularly distinctive one because it’s a key location in the story, there’s nothing really setting everything apart.

So yeah, at the moment, those are my biggest writing woes and what I’ll be pressing on improving in my alter pass throughs.


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