DESCRIBING THE SEASIDE
If you are having trouble describing the seaside, this is the post to read. It comes in five levels, from Basic English to Complex English. I am uploading Levels 1, 3 and 5.
The biggest mistake writers make is to describe the sea from the narrator out. What I mean by this is that most people try to describe a scene from what their eyes or imagination focus in on first. That is usually the beach, the waves and what is on the sea.
It’s only a suggestion but I find it easier to describe the sea/sky from its furthest point out first. In this case, that would be the dome of sky, what is in the sky (clouds, birds etc.) and the horizon. Then I gradually bring the detail closer and closer until I can describe what emotions I am feeling inside (joy, contentment etc.).
Think of it as an artist thinks of a painting. An artist will fill in the background first before attempting the smaller details. Point of View (POV) is very important for a writer. Give the broad sweep before attempting the difficult task of filling in the micro elements of a scene. Then you are looking at the world with an ‘artist’s eye’ and you will be a successful descriptive writer.
If you want more advice on this, check out my new book and workbook by clicking the link here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/280-6899154-7038727?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=descriptive+writing.
Following this formula will ensure a well written paragraph or essay. Once this is mastered you can vary the narrative style any way you wish. Remember not to neglect the ‘other’ three senses of taste, smell and sensation also. Sound and colour will only get you so far in an exercise like this.
Colour of the sea: The sea was jewel-blue.
The sky: The sky was like a curtain of silk.
In the sky: Tufty clouds of wizard-white drifted past.
The horizon: The horizon was a line of nickel-silver.
Sea sounds: The sea song of the waves soothed me.
Metaphors: The heap of sea swelled silently.
Motion: The waves were rippling gently.
On the sea: Clumps of seaweed got washed up on the beach.
The beach: The beach was shaped like a shepherd’s hook of gold.
Waves: Rollers of gem-blue dashed the sand.
Salt smell: The air was pregnant with the smell of salt.
Taste: We ate some yummy hot dogs.
Sensations: It was a heart-warming experience.
The sea was like a rippling blanket of brochure-blue. Squabbling seagulls flew overhead, harassing the beachgoers in their endless hunger. Gannets were dive-bombing the stretched surface of the sea far out from shore. The horizon was edged with a silver tint and a cormorant was flying into that place where sun and water meet. His wings were a blur of motion and he soon faded from sight.
The opera of the sea washed over me and the wave-music was welcome. It was soothing and I was glad to get away from the hurly-burly and stresses of life. Davy Jones’s locker had swallowed up many a man over the centuries, but the beach I walked on was an enchanting paradise. It was half-moon shaped and there were no heaving waves to be seen, merely wave-grooves in the sand. I shaded my eyes from the glowing daystar and looked out to sea again. I could see dolphins flipping into the air like crackling popcorn. Their bodies flashed in steel-grey and I could almost touch their glee. It was a skin-tingling experience to witness their sea-dance.
The briny air carried a different smell also-spicy chicken. My stomach rumbled when I heard it sizzling on the barbecue. I bought a few wings and it was like tasting Greek fire with all the spices and sauces on it. I swore I would come back to this spellbinding place again someday. I looked behind for the last time and already my footprints were fading as if I had never been………….
Is there anything quite as blissful as an amble by the seashore? It’s like walking through an airy womb of sky and sound. The sea is a cerulean-blue gown and the beach seems dipped in earthshine-gold.
The mermaid’s call of the waves reaches out to you and you have to resist its siren call to enter the copper-bottomed depths. Titan’s fiery wheel seems to be buckled to the immensity of sky and the panorama of sights can overwhelm the other senses. When you cast your eyes out to sea, you observe that the horizon is hemmed in sardine-silver. The waves in the distance are like white creases on a vast bale of velvet and the lolling of the yachts is both rhythmic and mesmerising.
The pulsing heart of the sea causes a gentle swell and the waves cascading onto the shore have that ancient alchemy of purr-and-pound. When they uncoil, it is like an old, vellum parchment is unrolling in front of your eyes. If you could read the script, it would probably say just two words a hundred, hundred thousand times; never leave. Your eyes are drawn to the dot in the sky getting nearer. It is a gannet, plump from poaching fish from the larder of the sea. He is coming into frame and as he passes overhead, he leaves out a call that echoes the alien emptiness of this place. This is Poseidon’s realm, he seems to say, and you should not be here.
You look around and you admire the feng shui perfection of the beach. The palm trees are lined in serried rows and dip their heads in obedience to the sea. They have an Eden-green beauty that cannot be rivalled were you to travel to the far side of the world. Underneath them, a springy undergrowth of lush-green seems to beckon you in to the rainforest. You will let its sleeping soul rest today, however. You are here to savour the sea’s indefinable beauty and let its vastness seep into your mind. With luck, you will carry fragments of it home as memory.
The yachts lolling in the distance rock cradle-like and again you get the feeling that the sea wants to lull you. You know that the same picture-perfect scene you are devouring with your eyes has been a salty coffin for many an unwary mariner. The fool-strewn sea floor is not to be underestimated, however sensuous it may seem above the surface. The glassy air carries a faintly delicious perfume with it also. It is as if a vial is being slowly uncorked, revealing a galaxy of otherworldly scents. Your nostrils are tantalised by its richness. It is neither the pelagic smell of the salty waves nor the earthy cologne of the vegetation that you smell. It is much more immediate, much more familiar that that.
Suddenly, you have a light bulb moment. You are disappointed at first. You realise your cyan-blue paradise hosts other guests today. You are not alone. Then a mist of food scents drift towards you and you are glad. The illegally-good carnival of toothsome aromas makes your stomach sound like bottled thunder. You can detect flame-grilled tuna, exotic peppers and zingy onions. You realise you are famished and guide your nose towards the barbecue. Soon, you can hear people laughing. You take one last look at this utopia and absorb the jaw-dropping scenery with your eyes. Then you turn on your heel and make your way to where the cannibals are waiting for you………………
Check out my new book and workbook by clicking the title here http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/280-6899154-7038727?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=descriptive+writing.
There's no formula for having a brilliant idea. What you really need is an idea to start with. Then you need to make this idea a little different. This is the creative part, taking something that appears very ordinary and turning it into something unusual.
For example, you may be asked to write a description of a coastline. You might start to think straight away about a crowded beach - children playing, deck chairs, sun shining, happy sounds. But if you stop for a moment, you realise that's been done before. It's OK, but it's not very creative.
What about turning that on its head - not crowded, but deserted? Not summer, but winter? Not lovely and inviting, but covered in oil and polluted? It's not a pretty picture, but it's original - and that gives impact.
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