Quick Bit: Writing Active Description

Your writing needs description to make the people and places you're writing about come alive in the mind of the reader.


But opinions on how much description vary.  Some like a lot, some like a little.  I fall somewhere in between.  I like a lot of description–and I will admit to finding myself skimming through it upon occasion as well.

One way to make certain your description is palatable to the reader is to make it active.  I was reminded of this the other night when reading Stargazey Point by Shelley Noble.  Here's the sentence of active description that caught my eye:

She chattered on while Abbie followed a footstep behind her and tried to decipher the pattern of the faded oriental runner.

It is not the best sentence ever written in the history of the world, but it does illustrate my point nicely. And that point would be this:

The way to make your description active is to have your character interact with it.

As my grandchildren would say: Done! (This must be accompanied with throwing both hands in the air.)

So, have your viewpoint character describe the windows in the old house as she tries to open one.  Or your skateboarding protaganist wax poetic about a street fair as he zig-zags around people and booths.  

Simple and effective.  

And that is all I have to say on the subject.

Do you like a lot of description or a little?