Using Images to Aid Description

A useful trick for describing (bucolic) scenes is to garner inspiration from a relevant image, e.g.

Above the cloud-smeared horizon, a mantle of tawny penumbra cast an iridescent halo wide around the dipping winter sun.  The glittering bay was cleaved in two by a path of liquid copper, which splashed an amber glaze over the damp beach that lay below the cemetery.  Vic propped the Kilmarnock willow against the grey stone wall and cut out a small circle of turf where the shrub was to be planted.  They had struggled down the cobbled walkway from St Mary’s church, Norman insistent on bearing the coffin despite his arthritis.  Four old men.  Mickey Brennan still nowhere to be found.

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  1. I love using photos to get inspiration for descriptions, and like the passage you came up with. Mu only comment would be that put in a short story or novel it may come across as adjective top heavy. They are SO hard to leave behind though aren't they?:-)

    1. I certainly wouldn't advise this rich proportion in the main body of the story...but, if one ignores the style police every now and then you can slip bucolic description under the *readers' radar in a short passage of narrative.

      If we were to take the advice of the likes of S King *too literally, we could end up going the long route by replacing adjectives and adverbs with verbs and nouns.


      The horizon was smeared with clouds and the winter sun, which was dipping toward the sea, was surrounded by a mantle of tawny penumbra. The bay was cleaved in two by a path of copper that glittered and splashed a glaze of amber over the beach, which was damp...

      Sometimes, in ignoring the tenets of style we can write with fluid economy - for readers who usually have no opinion of style guides; they either like it or they don't.

      The best rule I know is: "if it works, it works..."