Hampton Roads Writers


1. Take a walk around the block. Look at everything – people, cars, trees, flowers, trash, sky, etc.

2. Write a description of your walk, using every appropriate adjective when describing what you saw. Don’t worry about using too many – this is supposed to be overblown.

3. Write a second description of your walk without using any adjectives or descriptive phrases.

4. Now that you’ve done both overblown and bare-bones versions, re-write your walk using a comfortable number of adjectives. This will be different for different writers.

How did you do? Which version was harder for you? Did you discover that you are a naturally spare writer like Dick Francis? Or a descriptive writer like Anna Quindlen? Or somewhere between the two?

Go back to your final version for more revisions:

* Can you use a stronger noun and delete an adjective? Instead of “red sports car,” can you write “red Corvette?”

* Can you replace a long descriptive phrase with a shorter one? How about changing “the wall was covered with spray-painted words” to “grafitti-covered wall.” Or make it more specific in its own sentence, such as “High schoolers had sprayed ’Cougars Rock’ and ‘Class of 2010’ in red across the brick.”


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