Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Tips for Mastering the Art of Story Description

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Mastering the art of description is an exciting reality of the writer’s life. The writer uses various techniques to show fresh and unusual details through the point of view character. The result immerses the writer and the reader into the story. The adventure begins!

We’ve been taught since basic writing instruction to research powerful nouns, vivid verbs, and to cut back on adjectives and cleverly inserted adverbs to show our stories. Parts of speech are essential for proper grammar and create a vivid story world for our readers. But there’s more to our craft than word substitution, more than finding ten ways to note how a character walks.

By exploring the traits and voice of the point of view character, writers create memorable passages no other character can or will duplicate.

Many characterization sketches and guidelines are amazing to help the writer find the real character. Take a leap and investigate the quirky parts of character that make him/her stand out. This is discovered in backstory, the life experiences of the character before chapter one line one of story. What is your character’s vocabulary, the words only he/she uses?

How does your character feel about the goal or problem facing him/her? Passion and drive is a given, but what about the character who looks at the world through a distinct outlook? How does your character illustrate the situation? What metaphors and similes are his/her alone?

The words our character say come from characterization, backstory, and what has been presented in the story problem. The character’s goal or problem is set in his/her mind, constantly plaguing the character, and the dialogue demonstrates it.

The writer researches the best places to set a scene. The objective is for the setting to be antagonistic. How does the character face and describe each problematic situation and how does it change as the scene progresses?

Emotions and Body Language
Emotions and body language reflect the inner character. Some attempt to hide feelings, while others are unable to fight them. The character has specifics to voice how reactions and responses affect him/her. Is your character successful in covering up emotions? How does he/she internalize feelings?

In mastering the art of description, writers are challenged to create unique situations that allow the reader to experience every sentence through the point of view character. How do you determine your character’s description?

Tips for mastering the art of story description - via @DiAnnMills on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Award winning author @DiAnnMills shares 5 things that feed into mastering the art of story description on @ediemelson (Click to Tweet)

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian Fiction books of 2014.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Suspense Sister, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson. She teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook:, Twitter: or any of the social media platforms listed at


  1. And thus, I now have an understanding of the art behind the science of writing. Thank you so much for your great explanation and description Ms. DiAnn. As I learn here, I begin to understand why reading has always been my passion. The skill of great authors like you bring readers into your stories. God's blessings...

  2. I received James Patterson's MasterClass/Fiction for Christmas and now I'm bookmarking this post, DiAnn. (Feels like Christmas all over again!) *smile*

  3. Thank you for helping me to understand why I enjoy reading fiction, but I don't enjoy even thinking about writing fiction. My journalism classes in the 1960s concentrated on "just the facts," only what I saw happen and heard the experts say.