Describing Things – A Writing Exercise

Under_Heaven_(Guy_Gavriel_Kay_novel)_cover_artI am reading Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay.  It has served as my introduction to his work.

The man writes beautifully.

I read the first page then turned to my girlfriend and read it to her aloud.  We spent several minutes commenting on the structure of his prose and the simple beauty of his descriptions.

I do not do this often.

As I continued through the book, I found myself reading and re-reading sentences and paragraphs in much the same way, allowing myself to appreciate the construction and flow and choice of wording again and again.

When I finished the first chapter, I had to put the book down to allow myself some time to digest it.  Most of the time when I read I’ll want to delve far and deep into a book, often reading for hours on end.  Something about this told me that I would need to savor it and eat it piece by piece if I was going to be able to appreciate it fully.

By reading a few short biographical articles online, I’ve learned that Mr. Kay is also a poet and has published a book of poetry.

It shows.

I want to write like that.

I want to write with beauty.

I’ve decided to start with a new writing exercise that I’m going to try to tackle daily.  I’m not going to make any rules up for it.  I won’t beat myself up if I don’t get to it one day, and I won’t make it a mandatory daily practice.

But I want to start describing things in a more artful and more poetic way.

So, starting today, I will try to take a few moments in a given day to jot down a description of whatever is around me.  And I will try to be as creative and – dare I say it – poetic with the imagery as I can be.  It won’t be goal directed towards one of the stories I’m working on.  It will simply be an exercise in description.

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