Making Your Descriptions Relevant to the Plot

Welcome to the land where every detail counts! And no, we’re not talking about your obsession with cleaning the nooks and crannies of your apartment—we’re talking about crafting plot-relevant descriptions.

The Art of Purposeful Description

Remember, when it comes to good writing, fluff is your enemy. This isn’t a marshmallow world where the fluffier, the better. Nope, in our world, every word, sentence, and, yes, every description should serve a purpose. It’s like making an excellent cup of coffee—too much sugar, and you lose the taste of the beans. If it’s too little, it’s bitter. It’s all about balance!

Why Your Descriptions Should Serve Your Plot

A description that doesn’t move your plot forward is like a car without gas. It’s pretty to look at but doesn’t get you anywhere. Every word you put on the page should either reveal something about a character, set the mood, establish the setting, or drive the plot forward. Otherwise, it’s just a pretty hood ornament on a car that’s not moving.

Making Every Detail Count: Plot-Relevant Descriptions

So, how do you make your descriptions plot-relevant? Simple. Ask yourself: “Does this description add to my story? Does it push the plot forward? Does it reveal something about a character?”

If the answer is “no” to any of those, it might be a beautifully written piece of fluff.

How to Weave Descriptions Into Your Plot

Weaving descriptions into your plot is like crafting a tapestry. Each thread, color and design element contribute to the overall picture. Just as in tapestry-making, writing involves choosing the right details, words and moments to describe, ensuring that each contributes to the plot.

Common Mistakes in Creating Plot-Relevant Descriptions and How to Avoid Them

  1. Over-describing insignificant elements: Not every item in your scene needs a 2-page description. Focus on the essentials.
  2. Not connecting the description to the story: Always ensure your descriptions serve a purpose and are not just there to look pretty.
  3. Being too vague: Specific details can greatly enhance your plot. Don’t shy away from being specific!

Plot-relevant descriptions can turn a good story into an unforgettable one. It’s like adding the perfect amount of spice to a dish, not overpowering, but enough to make it flavorful. So, next time you describe something, ask yourself, “Is this driving my plot forward?”

Exercise: Practicing Plot-Relevant Descriptions

Here are some basic descriptions. Some of them serve the plot; some are simply decorative. Your task is to identify which ones are plot-relevant.

  1. The sun was setting, spreading long shadows across the lawn.
  2. The ancient oak tree stood in the middle of the field, its branches reaching out like gnarled hands.
  3. She wore a red dress that flowed like a river around her legs.
  4. His coffee was lukewarm, matching his enthusiasm for the day ahead.
  5. The cat lazily stretched on the windowsill, tail flicking in the afternoon sun.
Answer Key
  1. Depends on the context. If the setting or time of day is important to the plot, this could be plot-relevant.
  2. Depends on the context. If the tree is a central part of the story or setting, this could be plot-relevant.
  3. If the color of the dress or the way she presents herself is important to the story, this could be plot-relevant.
  4. This is likely plot-relevant as it reveals something about the character’s mood.
  5. Unless the cat or its behavior is significant to the plot, this is likely just decorative.