Tuesday, November 06, 2007

weekly writing coach: descriptive powers

Want to polish your descriptive powers? Try challenging your senses: Describe something you see (the view out your window), hear (chatter in the hallway), taste (that sandwich you brought to work) or touch (your keyboard?). For more inspiration, listen to the Vocal Impressions series, now in round 8 on National Public Radio. They play soundbites from famous speakers, actors and singers -- round 8 included Johnny Cash, Ethel Merman, Willie Nelson and Roy Orbison -- and ask listeners to send in their impressions of the emotions and sounds evoked by these well-known voices. The link includes sound from the voices of the next round of subjects: Fred Astaire, Joe Cocker, Katharine Hepburn and Janis Joplin. Be sure to listen to the audio of the report, as winning entries are read on the air--and will give you wonderful examples of using simile, comparison and just plain verve in description.

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