Enhance your character’s perspective with descriptive writing

“Details invite readers to take your characters side, to understand what is happening to him, to empathize with his every hope and fear.”

This point comes from Description (Elements of Fiction Writing) Monica Wood’s Description, highlighting an aspect of descriptive writing rarely discussed.

Descriptive writing gives your reader a perspective. Of course, this is most obvious in the first person point of view where a reader’s five senses exist at the protagonist’s discretion. But even when writing from a second or third person perspective, a writer who is cognizant of their characters’ hopes, motivations, feelings and insecurities will create details that give characters depth and readers something to think about.

Understand your novel’s theme first
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As you write, you may find it best to write details as you go, or add in details later. I’ve read that both methods can reap bountifully. On the one hand, descriptive writing in the first draft drives the text down roads not originally mapped on the outline. On the other hand, details added on the second or third draft are better informed. With either strategy, a writer should have a general idea of a book’s theme, and use description to support it. If your book is about the power of love, consider how your descriptions add to that conversation (or just copy/paste from Harry Potter).

Then, consider the why of the what
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Just as actions reveal character, the objects of their focus reveals traits as well. An employee focused on the expensive suits and dresses around the office might be feeling insecure about his humble beginnings. Before describing a scene, considering the purpose of the focus, and how the object reinforces the characters you are trying to create.
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