Starting With A Description

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Many authors like to start out with a description that sets the mood and creates a picture for their readers. If you’re aware that particular place or scene plays an important part in the piece you’re going to write, you can create your own description.

Here’s how the South African leader Nelson Mandela describes the harsh environment of the gold mines where black African miners toiled under terrible conditions; such a stark picture prepares the reader for Mandela’s account of the exploitation of black leader under the apartheid regime in his country:

There is nothing magical about a gold Mine. Barren and pock – marked, all dirt and no trees, fenced in all sides, a gold mine resembles a war – torn battlefield. The noise was harsh and ubiquitous; the rasp of shaft – lifts, the jangling power drills, the distant rumble of dynamite and the barked orders. Every where I looked I saw black men in dusty overalls looking tired and bent. They lived on the grounds in bleak, single – sex barracks that contained hundreds concrete bunks separated from each other by only a few inches.(Nelson Mandela : Long Road to Freedom)

Here’s another vivid description that the journalist Brent stapes uses to begin a new section of his autobiography, parallel Time:

A journal of Chicago is a journal of weather. Winter lasts forever there. Dirty gray ice hangs on in the gutters through Easter. June suckers you outside in shirtsleeves and then shifts its winds, bringing January to rake your bones. Warm weather smells of ambush until August. Then the lake heats up, the breeze stops and it’s too hot to breathe.(Brent Staples : Mr. Bellow’s Plant)

Other Pages in this Section :

Starting With An Illustrative Example

Starting With A Quotation

Starting With An Anecdote

Starting With A Summary Paragraph

Successful Writing Index

From A Description to HOME PAGE

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