I’ve spent a large part of my adult working life in commercial writing, creating and editing legal, government, financial, and business documents. When I decided to commit to writing fiction again, I was concerned that the pared back, plain language style I had cultivated so assiduously would bleed over. Could I write a description? Could I transport my readers into another place; cause them to build pictures in their mind of rooms and landscapes and people? I worried.
I find that if I strongly visualise something myself, then simply describe it as clearly as possible, it seems to work. And so I go looking for visual inspiration, much of which finds a home on my Pinterest pages.
Below is a description from Embracing Prudence. David is calling on a client. As always, I invite you to post excerpts from your work in the comments, and to share through twitter, facebook, or wherever else you like.
David was shown through a lofty hall by an equally lofty butler, and into a parlour decorated in the Egyptian style. Last month, he had met Rede at the solicitor’s office and then had tea with him at his club, so missing the glory of the former Earl of Chirbury’s decorating style.
The room had been painted black to above head height, with gold detailing. Above that was a frieze easily two feet high; Egyptian pharaohs, slaves, mummies, soldiers, and gods painted in garish colours marching endlessly around the room, with a sublime disregard for any kind of sense or story.
The furniture carried on the theme, with blocky claw-footed pieces upholstered or painted in reds, greens and golds. Every surface, including a couple of ornately painted plinths, carried more Egyptian-inspired decoration: sphinxes, pharaohs’ heads, vases, mirrors in frames; even the candle sconces were sphinxes with holders embedded in their heads.
The door opened behind him; heavier steps than the butler’s.
“It’s ghastly, isn’t it?”