Let’s Get Specific

I think it’s time for me to start taking my writing to the next level. I’ve generally thought of myself as a good writer, but throughout the course of this class, I’ve started to feel like I’m not as good as I might think. I’ll consistently get a B on work I would consider A+ material. When we workshop and read each others’ writing, I’m always surprised by the amount of criticism I get from other people. I think it’s time for me to shed the veil of arrogance and actually start improving.

One way I can do that is by getting specific. My teacher, Mr. Ziebarth has been trying to get us to use more concrete descriptions in order to enhance our writing. He recently gave us this piece of writing with which to learn from. After reading this, I looked back through my old writings and noticed a clear lack of concrete details. Once when describing a performance by my mother, I said, “she knows how to make people laugh,” rather than what actually happened, “she put on her best impression of a crotchety old woman and screamed about her dead cat ‘Harold.'” That may not seem funny to the average adult, but to the hundreds of kids in the room she was performing for, it may as well have been the best damn joke in the world.

There I go again with the abstract language. I need to find a way of showing you how funny the joke was, rather than telling you. Well hopefully this comes in time. I’ll do my best to add some sensory descriptions and images. Hopefully my writing will improve with time after this realization. For now, you’ll just have to deal with me being a lil’ unspecific.


Photo©2014 by Phil Roeder [CC-by-2.0]

(Check out those concrete details, eh?)


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