2019 Day 11 – Description

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt

Write A story centered on description

Don’t forget to still have a story with character, desires, conflicts, but play with the amount of description you use:

Slow things down and raise the tension by describing the scene in detail

Speed things up by painting a sketchy image of the scene.

Play with all five senses, to evoke emotions in your readers


Check back every day for more prompts, and don’t forget to come back and leave a comment to celebrate your writing successes, every day!

20 thoughts on “2019 Day 11 – Description”

  1. I continue to work on the characters in my draft novel. For the Sept. 11 prompt, I went back to describe Early’s emotion when holding the baby that V. just birthed. Very rough and short, but something to work with later, I think.

    Almost weightless, Early had never held anything so light except maybe a feather or a leaf. How in the world did something like this even exist? Everything about the baby surprised her. She stroked the small round head with its nest of light brown hair, fuzzy like a firm golden peach. The tiny veined eyelids almost transparent and the invisible lashes lay on the pudgy cheeks like tiny fence rails. Everything about her was so small like her hands with surprisingly long fingers ending in sharp ragged nails.
    She unwrapped the blanket and gently pulled the legs straight. She laughed when they immediately sprang back into their bent position. So much like little chicken legs, she thought. Maybe that should be her nick name, although she doubted that V. would approve.
    Early raised her head to sniff the air and realized that the horrible stink was coming from the tiny helpless person in her arms. Maybe skunk is a better fit.

  2. So far I’m trucking right along. My story today didn’t play up description as much as I think the prompt suggested, and it needs something–not sure what–to be more than just an “oh-things-worked-out-okay” story. But it’s there and can be worked on again. Plenty of conflict but no spark–hmmmmmm.

  3. Bear Attack

    Late September morning out on the trail to Lost Lake. The trail is very scenic and defies description for the most part. I usually travel about ten miles, five miles from my backdoor and five miles back. Most of the trail is rocky and there are a few climbs that make me struggle for breath, but after a summer of riding, I am finally starting to feel comfortable riding the trail. Alaska is mostly wilderness and this trail cuts through some very pristine land where there are more critters than human travelers. Few people really know this kind of isolation, but that’s the reason I come here in the first place, to get away from it all.

    As I cross the only road on my trip and start up the path to Lost Lake, I feel the chill in the air that will soon bring the winter winds ending my season for riding this trail. The bright red fireweed was no longer as it had turned white and in the gentle breeze, the air filled with the seed resembling the snowfall that would come in the following weeks. In the frosty air, you could smell the berries begin to burst as the cooler air would rupture their thin skins sending an aroma that carried the distinctive aroma of death and decay as the bushes would go dormant and silent under the blanket of snow to yet to come. It was sad to see the sun retreating lower and lower on the horizon until the days would only have four hours of sunlight, barely rising in the east in late morning and then retreating in the west in the early afternoon. Dreary and cold, many folks suffered from SAD or seasonal affective disorder, but sad was enough as far as I was concerned.

    I had come over the crest of the first hill which I doubt anyone had named since this area was seldom traveled. The spruce and gnarled pines lined the thin rocky trail. My mountain tires could handle this terrain, but still there was plenty of bouncing and kidney jolting ruts to make me want to take a quick break before heading on the rest of the three miles remaining.

    The grass had turned brittle and dried so that when the breeze did pass through it sounded like rattling bones. Pine cones were scattered on the ground, the trees hoping to start a new generation. Leaves also lay where they had fallen during the passing weeks and these very same leaves would remain after the breakup of the winter ice and snow since it was too cold up here for Nature’s Vishnu bacteria to break down the dead foliage. So they stay and do not go away.

    White fluffy clouds rolled across the azure sky above, the sun was playing peek-a-boo through most of the morning in between the clouds. The heavy wet air continued to hold the foul fragrance of the dying vegetation of all preparing for the big sleep of winter as it was approaching. The chill of the wind numbed my naked fingers curled around the handlebars of my bike and with one subtle gust, my eyes teared up. Perhaps today I would settle for only half way in my journey as winter was warning me that the days of temperate weather was quickly coming to a close.

    It was then that I heard the grunting, deep guttural sounds that vibrated throughout my being. Looking at the gravel ground, in horror, I discovered that my tires were resting on the carcass of a dead moose, a fresh kill and the creature who had dispatched this unfortunate beast was running toward me to defend its property. In a matter of seconds, I had transcended from innocent traveler to intruder and I had nowhere to seek shelter from this vicious attack that was coming. I began to pedal, but the beast was gaining on me with each thrust. It was a brown bear, at least twice my size, capable of taking down an adult moose in an efficient manner. I, being half the size of its kill, stood no chance whatsoever in the onslaught.

    I turned my head and saw the giant beast opened its maw, bearing teeth that were truly frightening as it near to arm’s length of me on my bicycle. The roar it emitted was nearly enough to knock me over, but I was able to keep my balance. This, however, turned out to be a temporary reprieve as the bear reached out a massive paw and slammed it down on the rear tire of my bicycle sending me careening and cartwheeling through the dead foliage. Through some miracle, I cannot fathom, my bicycle landed on top of me as I came to rest in a small indent where the soil had sunk in during the recent rains. I managed to squeeze myself into the indentation, but knew it would be a matter of time before the bear would finish me off.

    My mind pushed me into a place that wasn’t as frightening, into a day when the weather was perfect as I stood on the shore of Lost Lake listening to a lone loon singing as it swam, the smell of new growth carried on a slight breeze like a sweet perfume. I knew that my time was nearing an end as a shadow fell over me as I shielded myself beneath my bike. Weighing more than anything I had ever experienced. I felt as though I was slowly being crushed under the immense weight of what I now knew was a full grown adult grizzly. As I struggled for air, the musty odor of the fur was all I could manage to breathe in, I wondered who was going to feed my dog waiting for me back in my house. I wondered who would get my beat up old Mazda and how many people would come to my funeral.

    Despite the weight of the bear, the frame of the bicycle was holding up and preventing the bear from taking another swipe at me with his deadly paws. There was a noise. The bear stopped his attack and held his head up. Mud had gone into my ears and I spit out the dying vegetation from my mouth. The bear had moved off my bicycle. He was walking erect on his back legs, his nose high in the air. Suddenly he roared out a high siren of a noise as he moved away. I was shivering from both the cold soggy ground that I almost was buried in and from this horrible experience with a full grown grizzly. Many do not live to tell about their encounters with such creatures and my expectations ran along those lines as well, but somehow a miracle had taken place and I was spared for reasons I do not know to this day. I waited for about an hour or so before I was able to work up the strength to start my way home, but that was also precaution on my part as sometimes the bear will linger and end up catching you as you think you are getting away. One can only pray for one miracle like this in a lifetime and if you press your luck the outcome may not go your way again.

    It was nearly sundown as I began to pedal home. The chill of the wind had turned the moisture to snow and ice. As the sun was being drained out of the sky in a bright ball of orange flame, the cold air quickly set in. If I didn’t get a move on, the cold would finish the job the bear had started. I would tell the story, but I knew that my friends would see this as just another one of my tall tales. I didn’t care and it didn’t make a bit of difference on my ride home.

  4. Today was a continuation of my Janie story. She did what a lot of women do, thoroughly cleaned the house before Ellen, the cleaner arrived. Ellen tours the large house with several rooms unentered except for obvious regular deep cleaning, noting the pristine nature of every room, the beautiful artwork, the rich textures throughout. She is served coffee and warm homemade ginger cookies and asks the question, “What do you expect me to do?” After some discussion, Ellen who prides herself in the work she does, lays it out for Janie. If there is no cleaning to be done Ellen sees no point in taking them on as clients. She agrees to come in the following Wednesday for a trial run and tells Pete that he has a big job cut out for him to make sure that Janie leaves the work for her. Pete wonders if there might be a twelve step program for ‘over cleaners” . I managed to work a fair bit of description into the piece without it bogging down the storyline. And, it was fun to write. I only write for my own amusement and admit to being easily amused.

  5. I have not been able to write a full story each day, but I have written multiple haiku. I feel bed that I can’t write a story each day, but life has been getting in the way of things. I don’t want to give up hope. Every day is a new day!

  6. September Day 11.
    Again I am taking the opportunity to work on the second draft of the story I wrote for this prompt last May. I’m excited how much I am learning by revisiting the prompt and then critically examining my Story. I’m feeling pleased with how I can improve my first draft. Without September Storyaday I was finding it hard to get going on second drafts. Thank you so much for that.

  7. I struggled to get started so I began by choosing a setting to describe. I chose a Portuguese beach at sunset. Then magic happened! I have no idea where the following story came from but it flowed through me indulging in my love of description!
    I wrote 1050 words without reading through so I do need to refine and polish it but it was an encouraging experience.

  8. With the encouragement of the prompt today I allowed myself to be overly descriptive. I love descriptions but have been training myself to be more concise since short stories are my writing soul mates. I continued my story from yesterday that has my novel’s main character in it. I am finding that these stories are filling holes in my novel I discovered during my writing retreat in Feb. I will have to go back and align some things but I do love how the brain works!

    It was such fun to write and I am thrilled to be back in my world of the novel.

    1. This is really helpful. Thanks for posting. Have you read Jeff Vandermeer’s Wonderbook? Lots of fab worldbuilding advice in there, too.

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