Thursday, October 28, 2010

Concrete & Significant Details


Writers are frequently advised: show, don’t tell. What this means is that it is crucial to address the senses. Vivid writing contains concrete, significant details.
  • ·         Concrete means that there is an image, something that can be seen, heard, smelled, tasted or touched.
  • ·         Significant means that the specific image also suggests an abstraction, generalization, or judgment.
  • ·         Detail means that there is a degree of focus and specificity.

The notion of detail is important to the image because it moves away from the generalized and toward the particular. For example, creature is a generalized notion, hard to see except in the vaguest way. Animal is still vague; four-legged animal is a little more specific; domestic animal a little more; dog narrows the field; mixed-breed Shepard we can see; old Sammy asleep on the red rug, his haunches twitching in his dream brings the dog into sharp focus in our minds. At the same time this last sentence resonates with the ideas of age and uneasy sleep.  If it said his teeth bared and gnashing in his dream, we’d also guess that old Sam has a capacity for meanness.  Notice how the narrowing specificity of the noun invites active verbs.
Try this:
Begin with the largest general categories you can think of – minerals, food, structures—thing big. Then narrow the categories step by step, becoming more specific until you have  single detailed images. Try it again with the same large categories but narrow in another direction. Can you, without naming a quality, make your images suggest an idea or direct our attitude toward the things you describe?


  1. Clothes,Exspensive,Mens apparel,Ralph Lauren, Outerwear,Hoodie,Navy Blue Hoodie

    People,Men,African American,From New York, Entertainer,Rapper,Hip hop,New york,Jay-Z

    Food,From a tree,fruit,green,Juicy,Granny smith, Granny smith apple

  2. 1.Shoes...small shoes...big shoes..comfortable shoes...sports shoes
    This choice of shoes started off general because there are many different types of shoes in the world. To be more specic I talked about the different sizes of shoes. I began to talk about the shoe being comfortable because there are some shoes that aren't comfortable. Sports shoes in my opinion are comfortable and a type of sports shoe is a Nike shoe.
    2. Clothes...warm clothes...hood...long jacket
    This choice of clothes was general at first. To be more specific I chose warm clothes virsus clothes that are worn when its cold outside. The color I chose was black. Then I chose a black sweat jacket.
    3.Jewlery...sparkles...ring...diamond ring...worn on a finger...worn on my ring finger.
    The general choice that I chose was jewlery. To be more specic I said that this jewlery sparkles because some jewlery doesn't. I chose the type of jewelry which was a ring. There are different kinds of rings so I chose a diamond ring. I said the ring is worn on a finger because some people wear them in different places. Then I chose the ring finger.

  3. 1) Shows----Competition Show---Competition Show on Food Network---4 Competitors---3 rounds---10,000 prize---one winner---Chopped

    2) Food---pastry---toaster---Strawberry---Poptart

    3) Salesman--snacks---senior---cretive writing period 3---Hostess cupcakse---50 cents---Gordon

  4. 1. car-sedan-4 door sedan- red 4 door sedan- red 4 door sedan with white strips down the middle- red 4 door sedan with white strips down the middle, parked in the driveway.
    2. Fabric-cotton-clthing-t shirt-big t shirt- big red t shirt-big red t shirt with a design in the middle-big red t shirt with a famous star design in the middle.
    3. Sweets-small eatable sweets-candy-red candy-watermelon candy.