Site of the writer Andrew Wood

Hello to you who take the time to read this πŸ™‚

I thought I would try and make a post that would warrant a discussion and I think that the subject/topic about how to make a story seem believable/real/atmospheric would be a good choice.

I would like as many people to tell myself and others how they go about this sort of thing when it comes to fictional or non-fictional writing. Do you:

  • Use an abundance of description?
  • Use first or third person? What type of first of third person narrative?
  • Use certain techniques to immerse yourself in the world your creating?
  • Insert as much poignant information as possible?
  • Use a variety of techniques? Maybe some more than others?

These are just a few points for thought. I would love for some contributions here πŸ™‚

Hope you all are well and take some time to think about this and post a comment πŸ™‚


Comments on: "Making A Story Seem Believable – Discussion Post!" (6)

  1. Lesley Pearse said:

    Lose the word ‘Seem’ first and foremost. As a writer you have to believe what you are writing or it won’t sound plausible. I don’t mean you have to have done it all yourself, hell no! I’ve never amputated anyone’s arm, but can write about it with conviction, (plus some research). Description should be kept to the minimum to paint a picture, why say something in ten words when you can use three. Keep the action going and remember to ‘show’ rather than tell.

    • Thanks for the insight Lesley πŸ™‚

      I see your point about my use of the word ‘seem’ so I do apologise for that one haha!

      I have heard conflicting views about the ‘Show, don’t tell’ advice from an author –

      I am a devil for researching more or less everything about the background of a story of mine. I like your amputation example haha!

      One point though – surely you need a careful balance between showing and telling?


  2. Great question, Andy. In my own writing, I think what works best is sensory detail. I don’t think one necessarily needs a lot of it, just a seasoning here and there to add the flavor of reality. Examples (off the top of my head) might be the grit between the teeth after a desert dust storm, the smell of ammonia at a chicken farm, the taste of whatever in a woman’s kiss, etc. My characters get blisters when they hike, look for restrooms after long drives, and blink when they step into bright sunlight. That’s what works for me.

    • Hi Steve,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment πŸ™‚ Much appreciated!

      Sensory details are indeed, in my opinion, a key ingredient for making something that little bit more visual for the reader. I’ve seen prose that is just littered with it that you get lost and I have also seen the opposite to that – not enough!

      I find that when I am writing I tend to go into such a flow that I neglect these minor details. Easily rectified when I go back through and do edits and additions so as long as I have the basis down it’s ok.

      I like your examples of sensory details – they really support your views πŸ™‚

      Do you have any other thoughts apart from the sensory details?


  3. Every character has a past, and those sensory details I mentioned will evoke memories–those sometimes unwanted flashes of images and voices from the past.

    • That is a good point – the past of a character, no matter how small a part they play (but not too small of course), is a good way of creating realism.

      Lovely insights and points in my discussion post. Many, many thanks Steve πŸ™‚ I hope you will keep up-to-date


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