Writing Affirmation: Pay Attention to Details

Sometimes when writers get stuck or can’t seem to figure out how to improve their writing, the issue is the lack of details about a character or setting.

Good fiction and essay writing in part is giving just the right concrete details, the minutiae that perfectly captures the moment or idea. It is the beading of sweat on a nervous man’s forehead, the bourbon’s acrid taste as the spy realizes his drink has been poisoned, the electric tingle a woman feels when her lover’s lips gently caress her neck; the groan of metal as a submarine sinks to an ocean’s bottom, the waft of perfumed blooming night flowers on a romantic evening.

As walking through your day, pay attention to the details around you. Bring a writing pad with you and note them, especially those that will fit in your story. As you read, watch for those details to see how other authors utilize them; note them as well or see if they inspire your own creativity and write that down in your writing pad as well.

Here are some great tips about this:
• Use concrete details to make writing more vivid
• Use physical gestures to show rather than tell
• ‘Show, don’t tell’ when writing fiction
• Appeal to sense of sound when writing
• Ensure descriptive writing serves a purpose


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.