Monday, May 23, 2011

It's Not a Radioactive Meteorite, But...

Look, in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, no it's... SUPER NANCY!!!

Super Nancy types faster than a speeding bullet. Her prose is stronger than a locomotive. She edits long chapters in a single session. But, just like Superman, Super Nancy has a vulnerability. No, not Kryptonite--let's call it Descriptionite.

A few weeks ago, I blogged about my tendency to recycle settings. In the comments, I confessed that part of this stems from my struggle with physical description. Sensory details just don't come naturally to me; as a result, my rough drafts are almost all dialogue, action, and internal dialogue. In this draft, Descriptionite sucks the life from my writing, just like Kryptonite kills Superman.

I didn't realize how much of a problem this is until my last beta reader (hi, Paige!) kept pushing me for detail. "I can't see this scene. You should mention what it looks like/what he's doing/what the food tastes like," and etc. Finally I created a system, which became my turquoise draft.

As I'm doing my final pre-critique edit, I keep a check list beside me with these categories: Color, Shape, Texture, Object, Sound, and Taste/Smell. My goal is to include at least three in each scene, and focus on one. I also try not to overuse the simple ones like color and sound. Texture is my new favorite--I love adding a tactile layer to the book.

Do you know what your Kryptonite is? How do you compensate for it?