Get intimate: Enter our October/November Writing challenge and win a literary assessment
All About Writing’s latest writing challenge offers the winner a literary assessment on 5000 words of writing worth R 2750.
Here’s the challenge:
Describe your bedroom in such a way as to give us an insight into who you are. Try to build up a picture of some of your internal contradictions or complexities – and possibly of the person with whom you share the room. Keep it short – no more than 250 words.
Paste your entry into the body of an email and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline midnight 30 November 2018.
Here’s some advice on descriptive layering:
In writing descriptions of places or things, we often forget that that description can serve two purposes: it can tell us about the thing or the place described to allow the reader to form an image of at least part of your world – but it can also tell us a great deal about the person who owns the object or inhabits the place.
Your description can, for instance, tell us more about
- The relationship between the people who live in the space
- Their perhaps warring aesthetic sensibilities
- Their current preoccupations
- Their intellectual lives
- Their history
- Their ambitions
- And their emotional attachments
Every detail that you describe will say something about this other dimension. Every detail has a job to do. And often, as we’ve said, every detail has two jobs to do.
The danger lies in explanation. We want to avoid explaining why the occupant of the room as a copy of Mills and Boon lying next to a volume of Michel Foucault. We would prefer the reader to be intrigued by the apparent contradiction, and then work out for themselves what this portends as the story progresses.
Don’t forget that in descriptions of any kind, details involve all the senses. The smell of face powder, the hum of a tv set on standby, the noise of the traffic from outside… or the birds… or the slightly greasy fur on the catch of the window…