Description Exercise

We haven't done a description exercise in a long time. So, it's time to sharpen your pencil and open your eyes (and ears and nose, etc - you know I am big on writing with all five of your senses alert and alive). I want you to try describing a sunset. I would suggest you first watch a sunset. And I mean really watch it. I'll warn you, this exercise may be cliche-inducing. So be aware of that and steer clear of those tempting cliches.

Have fun!


Anonymous said...


Five senses of a sunset:
Obviously, you can see a sunset and possibly feel it cooling the earth and air around you.
Birds would be out before the sunset and may stop chirping when they see the sun disappear.

I’m not sure how I can either taste or smell a sunset other than drinking something while watching it.

Just curious how you taste or smell a sunset?


firstlinefiction said...

You could expand the scene a bit. For instance: perhaps while the sun is setting the couple in your story is breaking up. The man smells the woman's Chanel No 5 perfume and it mingles with the colours of the sunset. Then when she kisses him good-bye (for the last time?) he tastes strawberry ice cream on her lips as the sky turns pink. Do you see how you can blend the elements of a story and have them play like musical notes against each other?

It was a good question, Mario. Thanks for asking it. And, of course, that is only one way to answer it.

Also I don't want you to always be listing all five senses in your descriptions - that would be overload. I simply want you to not rely solely on what you see. Too many writers do that. Sometimes by including another sense in the description (by telling the reader how something smells, for instance) the scene suddenly becomes vivid and alive. Be on the lookout for good descriptions in your own reading and observe how the writer does it.