Besides just writing – as in writing novels or plays, etc… I came to the realization that I wanted to do some writing that targeted what I perceived as a weakness of mine – descriptive writing. I’m a fast writer; it flows and I can whip off pages of dialogue in no time. But I always felt less confident in description. Description is tricky. You don’t want to lay down the wrong silly metaphor that will distract the reader. You don’t want to be repetitive. You do want to be vivid in your descriptions and you want to connect images in people’s minds so a reader can really imagine the scene being depicted before their eyes. In other words, good descriptive writing is hard work.
Last summer, when I had some extra time on my hands, I forced myself to sit and observe. Later, when I was at my computer, I recreated using the written word the scene I had witnessed. It was a fun exercise and I learned a lot about description. Here’s one I wrote after visiting Niagara Falls. This is written from the perspective of a man who is witnessing a scene he wishes to share with his lady.Let me know what you think.
Because insurmountable circumstances prevented you from attending the outing to Niagara Falls, I will, with your permission, attempt to give you a small descriptive canvass of what you missed. Through this poor attempt, I hope you will be satisfied in your curiosity of this treasure of a site until the day presents itself when we will both be able to enjoy the views together.
Since the views of the falls themselves are well known and clearly documented, I will pull back slightly from the hub of attention and settle upon a small stretch of land nestled next to the Niagara River, which leads to the great American Fall.
So with that in mind, we shall start on a bench; a green, wood-slatted bench sitting a near hundred paces from the river. If you, my dear, were sitting on the bench, this is approximately what you would see.
The foreground is blue ash, with a thick canopy of brilliant green which shields all but sparkled sun upon the ground – the green ground with frolicking grey squirrels scurrying up and down the ash as if some impending doom loomed on the horizon. The ground is Irish green with a thick matted top perfect for picnicking or gazing at the main attraction – the commanding river.
From that bench, the green above and the green below form a narrow view finder from the stone bridge on the left to the brink of the falls on the very right. This narrow, landscape view is bright in the towering sunshine, perfectly framed by the green. The river draws the attention of all who pass by. Its pull is near magical with its swift moving white caps which twirl around the occasional jutting rock. The white spray of the rapids create what appears to the naked eye as little white fountains, spouting up in near cylindrical form, overflowing themselves and feeding back into the treacherous moving stream which flows and pulls and prods itself to the brink of the falls which sits at the furthest point on the very right of the view-finder. In the foreground on the right, the crest of falls creates a constantly moving, downward-curved-push of awesome power. The water is intense, white, emerald, dropping out of sight into the cavernous canyon below. In the background, sits a glimpse of the Horseshoe Falls, nearly completely blocked by thick, hurricane induced mist which rises like a cloudy wall separating the far Canadian side from the American born.
From the bench, one view is not enough. Two nearly entices ten more. And before you know it, an hour gazing at the beautiful, mystic strip of imagination is quickly gone.
But if you were present, two would go twice as fast.
Until that day, this must suffice.