Using Adjectives

60 Second Advice by Anne Brees

Description adds layers to your story. Without description, your plot is just stick figures wandering in a white background. One main component to great description is using the correct adjectives.

Specific is always the best choice. Vague words will only make the blurry background blurrier. Instead of blue, say cobalt. Instead of dark, say inky. Don’t worry too much about this for your first draft. Just work on getting the words down on the page. However, once you are doing your edits, refine your word choice.

Research and consider connotation. Connotation is the emotion connected to each word. Consider the words aroma and stench. Both are essentially the same thing. They both describe a scent. However the meaning and emotional response to each one is very different.

Be aware of when too much is simply too much. Yes, you want to be descriptive. Yes, you want to catch your reader. But spending too much time describing will take away from the plot. Your reader is intelligent. Don’t spend five pages describing your character’s eye color with multiple adjectives. Pick one specific adjective, and stick with it. 

What’s your favorite adjective? 


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