Specific words make a story vivid because they paint a clear picture for the reader.
“A woman with a dog” creates only a vague picture. By replacing “woman” and “dog” with specific words you can bring your story alive:
“A lady with a poodle”
“A tart with a mongrel”
“A gothgirl with a puppy”
“A redhead with a Rottweiler”
“The man looked like a sports champion” is bland. Show us what kind of man and what kind of sports, and the sentence becomes interesting:
“The gentleman looked like a fencing champion.”
“The thug looked like a boxing champion.”
“The salesman looked like a sumo champion.”
Instead of the dull description with generic words “This garden is full of flowers of all kinds” show the kind of flowers to paint a picture:
“This garden is full of roses, honeysuckles, and hollyhocks” – The reader sees a cottage garden.
“This garden is full of crocuses, daffodils and tulips.” – The reader sees a garden in spring.
“The garden is full of daisies, dandelions and thistles.” – The reader sees a garden overgrown with weeds.
Before tackling your own manuscript, you may want to practice on these sentences. Use your imagination to replace the underlined generic words with specific ones.
I went further down the road until I came to a building half hidden by trees.
She put on her new dress and shoes and applied make-up.
For dinner, he ate meat with vegetables.
Have fun. If you like, post your versions as comments. We look forward to reading them.
To learn more about Rayne Hall and how to order her books, please visit Meet the Contributors.