Counterfeit Perception

In “Novelist’s Boot Camp,” author Todd Stone tells us, “When you’re done with your dialogue, what you have is counterfeit speech that feels more authentic than real speech. When you’re done with your description, what you have is an invented, counterfeit perception–using all of the senses–of reality that feels more real than reality itself.” He’s talking about the need to craft description out of carefully-chosen details, rather than simply taking a camera-real snapshot of your setting.

Today, look around the room you’re writing in. Free-write a list of descriptors–adjectives, phrases, etc–anything you might say to describe that setting. Go through that list and circle the particularly memorable or interesting ones, or the ones that you think best represent your environment or what it means to you. Cross out anything dull or uninspired, or that duplicates information conveyed already by a more interesting piece of description.

Finally, use what you have in a carefully-crafted prose description of your environment.

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