Sharp’s Writer’s Blog

Write what you know, but do it differently.

Hello everyone.  I am going to be thinking on the page at you and trying to come to some sort of conclusion, and I would like to invite comment from you as this will be more interesting and fun with reader participation.  I want to talk about one of the things you hear a lot.  Write what you know.

It is an easy thing to say, and it makes a lot of sense.  How can you write about what you don’t know, after all?  Well, research helps though some would argue that to write from a perspective you have to have experienced that perspective to write with fidelity.  I think that is a discussion for another time.  Today I will stick with write what you know.  And I will make one admission here.  I don’t know if this will work for everyone.  I know it has worked for me.  So, let us hope that you take something away from this.  I am going to tell you two brief stories first.

I am playing in a game of Dungeons & Dragons at the moment.  5th Edition if it matters to you.  My Games Master has been quite rigorous in creating a world, and encouraging us players into making deep characters.  After my initial wizard character was basically vetoed as his purpose for being went contrary to a player’s wishes, I came up with a Dwarven Character called Hadrin.  I gave him a clan, named his living relatives and gave his clan some history and their position in Dwarven politics.  Then I wrote about an encounter Hadrin had with a powerful magical being that his Grandfather, the clan leader, had a deal with.  The premise being that I wanted the Dwarven Clan to be pioneers in vehicle technology.  Since regular industry was vetoed at character creation, I worked this encounter in so as justify magical technology.  So, imagine Magic Powered flying machines for instance.  The Clan supported itself by mundane means, mining and smelting like good little mountain Dwarves.  The Games Master said he liked the idea of the magical technology.  He liked the background and history of the clan, and their position in Dwarven society.  He then said he found the fact they were mining mountain Dwarves boring.   He wasn’t vetoing the idea, he wasn’t even vetoing the fact that they were miners in the mountains.  He just wanted to encourage me to push the boundaries a little bit.  So we got to talking about it.  And eventually we came up with an idea of an offshore clan of Dwarves that live on a massive platform.  The platform has drilling shafts and lifts to the seabad where the Dwarven farms are, whilst the platform itself served as a base for them to build their dirigibles.  We took the idea of an industrious dwarf, and took him out of the mountains and made the idea work at sea.  The end result was the Coraldeep clan of Dwarves.  Dwarves that effectively live on an offshore rig, build airships and their warriors – the Tidebreakers – wear armour that is akin to deep dive apparatus.  I made a Dwarf trained to fight underwater, to protect workers from sea monsters.  Not your standard Dwarf.

My second story is about the books I am currently reading/rereading, the Shadows of the Apt series by Adrian Tchaikovsky.  They are a fantasy series set in a world where there are different kinden of human, each of which is basically an evolution along the lines of one form of insect.  And, members of these kinden take on the characteristics of their parent insect.  So, Ants have a hive mind, Mantis are really good killers and wasps have a sting and can fly.  So, it is a fantasy world with city states at a technological level somewhere between middle ages and renaissance Europe.  However, magic was once a major factor in the world in times referred to as the Days of Lore.  Magic is more or less gone, except for a rare few kinden that still practice – Moths and Mosquitoes spring to mind – and the story is mostly about the politics of city states within the Lowlands, with the Wasp Empire invading.  All sounds fairly fantasy so far?  However, in Shadows of the Apt an industrial revolution has happened.  The Days of Lore ceased as the slave races of the Moths and the Mosquitoes became Apt; technologically proficient.  And from this they developed automotives, flying machines, crossbows and more.  Magic is no longer the dominant factor in this fantasy, Industry is, and it has a similar effect on the politics of a fantasy book.  Technology becomes the “Tool” employed to defend against the Wasps, where magic might have been used in another fantasy.  The main wise character/mentor archetype in this book , Stenwold Maker, fills the roll that a wizard might in another fantasy.  He is a professor of engineering.  And a spymaster.  And when you think about it, what is a spell but a process or procedure using components in a specific way to achieve a specific effect.  Assembly of a device could fall into this category.

In both my stories there is something I was familiar with.  An Industrious Dwarf.  And a fantasy setting with a learned man aware of approaching doom.  And in both cases it would be easy to write only what we know.  About an industrious Dwarf who hails from the mines.  About a Wizard that senses the approach of war.  However, in both cases, something has been changed in the setting or circumstance without changing the fundamentals of the characters involved.

Hadrin Coraldeep is still an industrious dwarf.  However, his clan work the sea rather than land.

Stenwold Maker is still knowledgeable, sees the approaching doom and can come up with solutions others cannot.  But he builds things with his hands rather than casts spells.

In each case the standard trope that has been changed is changed into something that serves the same or similar purpose.  However, this change in circumstance creates an entirely new idea around a particular story.  So, let us think.  What other things can be changed?  Is this idea transferable?

Horror – Vampires survive by feeding on blood.  Perhaps we create a creature that has a different survival mechanism that is equally terrifying?  Maybe we change their weakness during the day…I know that was done in Twilight.  I am sure there are other ways to change the nature of a dark creature that would add to the horror, rather than simply make them obvious.

Science Fiction – What can we change here?  It is such a huge genre, to have only one entry is inadequate.  What about a close encounter/first contact story?  Where the protagonists meet aliens for the first time?  What if the protagonists are not from Earth, and the aliens they encounter are?

Romance – This was done perfectly by Daphne Du Maurier in Rebecca, where the bulk of the book was about post marriage and post honeymoon period, whereas standard conventions have romance dealing with the courtship phase.

Crime –  What if your main viewpoint character was the criminal?  Perhaps there is a threat, perhaps of murder or theft.  And maybe the main character is somehow involved in the security operation, but is actually the criminal.  I feel this has probably been done, however I suspect if you do it well it would be masterful.

So, over to you.  What things do you write about, and what could you do differently to set yourself apart?

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This one goes out to the regulars – I have a question

Hi there folks, welcome.  And a brand new hello to the recent followers, nice to see you!

Today’s post is less about writing and more about your expectations of this site, and an idea I have recently had.  And whilst I can certainly do what I please regards this website, it is a foolish writer that ignores their readers.  So, I want your opinion.

This website has been operational for just under a year.  In fact I got the domain renewal notice the other day.  And, despite a brief gap in posting it has been consistent and follower numbers have grown.  I appreciate that more than you realise.  What you may also not realise is this is one of two websites I have.  The other website is a hobby blog where I talk about gaming.  I review stuff and explore educational and social benefit of the hobby.  Some of my posts from there have been shared here and some from here have been shared there.

Now, it occurs to me that having two websites has two readerships when in fact I really want one set of readers.  Granted, on their own merits each site is doing reasonably well for a first year site.  However, I believe that they will become stronger if they were to merge.  I have tried this in the past, and it has been a bit unsuccessful.  Which would lead you to rightly ask, what has changed?  If it didn’t work before, then what makes you think it will work now?

My answer is related to purpose and format.  Previously the format of the site was a blog roll.  And I treated it like a niche blog, except it had two distinct and discrete areas.  And I feel that is what caused the blog to have an issue with identity leading to its ultimate failure.

This time my intent is to run a website as my author website.  On Sharp Writing I have shared my thoughts on the craft of writing and storytelling.  I have spoken about things that I feel have helped me that I believe will benefit others. As I said, I want to merge the two websites I have and have a single author website.  It would have a static landing page describing the site, and me and it would contain both of my blogs.  I don’t believe this will cause an issue with site identity.  If I have an author site then it is reasonable to talk about my writing work, my writing thoughts and also share all of my public writing – in this case, my hobby Blog.

My question to you would be – does this make any difference to you as a reader?

I will break that down.  Would a site that talks about fiction, writing and my hobby feel weird to you?  Would the additional content make you less likely to stick around?  And how would you feel if the content was good, but the primary URL changed?

That is it, over to you.  Please, I appreciate your thoughts!

 

Wattpad or not…Sharing your work on public websites

Hello everyone.  If you are here I am going to guess one of the characteristics you define yourself by is “writer”.  And that being the case, I am going to take a leap of logic.  You write because you want people to read it.  I know that is not true in 100% of the time, but generally speaking a person writing is writing for another reader.  Hopefully lots of readers.  And thus brings you to a dilemma.  Because whilst it is often hard to get your work published and on the shelves of the local book shop there are places you can share your work publicly, and for free.  And a writer has to ask themselves, “Is this a good idea?”

That is what this article is about.  I will specifically be referencing Wattpad, which I do in fact use, however I have used others in the past and I suspect there are more story sharing sites out there that I haven’t found yet.

So, you are a writer and you have a story to tell.  You hear about this Wattpad and you are now hit with the quandrary.  Do you share it?

And the answer depends entirely on your purpose for writing and your purpose for wanting to share.

If you are writing something you want to publish, then the answer is most definitely not.  Keep your stuff away from the public domain.  For one thing, most publishers aren’t going to be interested in something that has already appeared on a website.  It doesn’t matter if only four people saw it.  They are no longer the first people selling your story and that takes the shine off for them.  Secondly, there is a chance (however small) that someone will see your stuff and it will inform their writing.  This might be something small, or it could be an outright copy.  Now, if it is an outright copy and your stuff is still present on a public site, and you can prove when it was shared then maybe you could legally challenge.  If it isn’t and the website has no record of your upload, then you will have a hard job proving anything.  And having stuff in the public domain is no proof that the person that wrote something appearing to copy you ever actually saw your work.  Coincidences can happen (Maybe one day I will tell you about the video game Dragon Age, and why I can never bring myself to play it – it relates to this).

So, that is one reason not to share.  If you are less worried about publishing then perhaps there is still a place for you on these sites.

If you have more or less finished and are just wanting to share your work to see what people think, then all power to you – go right ahead.  Just be aware that in my experience no one will read your work if you don’t read their stuff first.  Not until you are part of the regular community on the website.  And this might mean slogging through a lot of stuff that you may not enjoy.

The last reason I can think of to share on these sites is to find critique of your work.  As writers, we are fallible and unless you are supremely gifted/had your weetabix that morning, you are always going to benefit from a second set of eyes.  What better place than a whole social media network devoted to writing, you might say.

Well, a small(ish) group of folks who you know, and whose ability levels you are aware of for one.  If you are going to a public/social media platform to share your written work for criticism, I would suggest that the calibre of criticism you will recieve is low.  Don’t get me wrong, you will get some folk there who are good critics capable of giving balanced and useful feedback.  Sadly, it is my experience they are in the minority.  For the rest, best case scenario you will get people commenting who enjoyed your work and will start their criticism telling you such.  (You can read my article about feedback HERE where I take some time to explain why I don’t find this particularly useful)  And they will tell you stuff they liked about it.  And that’s probably about it.  Certainly not useless, as an ego boost and a confirmation that some folks liked what you did.  But there is no critique, for the most part on this end of the spectrum.  You don’t get anything telling you what to improve.

The other end of the spectrum, I have encountered perhaps two people in the community who gave critical feedback to me.  One was good, and I listen to that person when they say something isn’t working.  The other was awful.  I recieved a comment highlighting what the reader thought was a problem with the story.  That was fair enough.  I didn’t agree with it, however if a person takes the time with me I take the time with them.  I thanked the reader for their comment, and explained that I had considered their feedback but was not going to incorporate it.  And I explained why.  What followed amounts to harassment.  The reader decided I was wrong.  The reader sent me more comments telling me I would never be a good writer if I didn’t do what they said.

I’m not exaggerating that, and I believe the comment is still on my profile.  I didn’t feel embarrassed by it.  I handled myself with politeness but the reader did not.  And that is one of the problems.  The person giving feedback didn’t have any concept of how to give feedback.  Imagine if I had been a brand newly minted writer, really pleased with my work and someone comes along, seeming to know what they are talking about and tells me I will never be good if I don’t do what they say.  If I was less confident in my work, that sort of feedback could prove crippling.  I have to say this has only happened once to this extent, but it does illustrate a point.  There is a fine line between giving good, useful, critical feedback and giving a writer a metaphoric slap in the face.  There is no way to insure the first on a social media platform.

Actually, there is a third group.  The follow for a follow, read for a read crowd.  Since starting to move in blogging facebook groups I have become exposed to various threads that are follow for a follow back which always seemed disingenuous.  Unless the groups are similarly themed, those new followers (if they happen at all) are unlikely to read your stuff regularly.  And the folks reading yours to get you to read their work are unlikely to give useful critical feedback as they might not want to upset you.

I have an account on Wattpad.  I don’t share work I intend to send to agents.  I don’t share work for critique, though I sometimes get it unsolicited.  I share because I want folks to read my work, and the gratification of receiving a comment or a vote helps keep me motivated.  It confirms that whilst my work doesn’t appeal to all, I do have an audience out there.  In that respect, sharing on Wattpad or another platform is invaluable.  So, taking this into consideration then I say Yes, Wattpad, in response to the article title.

If you want to read my work, you can click the following LINK.  If you want to leave feedback, you can.  But none of your nonsense!  Thanks for reading.

Fantasy World Building Part 1: Establish the Rules through History

Hello folks.  Welcome.  I have been wondering about what content to share with you that is different from every other writing websites out there and inspiration struck.  The one thing that Sharp-Writing has that other writing websites don’t is me.  It was so simple really.  I started thinking about my own creative writing and decided to share the process, if not the details (you’ll forgive me for keeping my stories close to my chest until they are ready for reading).  A couple of disclaimers.  I write fantasy so my posts will often refer to that – and this will be one of them.  And secondly, whilst I have studied creative writing at Degree level and consider myself skilled enough to know what works much of the time, I am not infallible.  I am going to share what I am doing just now, and perhaps it can help some people.  And perhaps some of you can help me by sharing your thoughts.  This post will be part of my Fantasy World Building series.

Disclaimers done, let’s get to the good stuff!

I am currently working on a Fantasy Story.  I have been working on this story in one form or another for the better part of 10 years.  It has gone through many evolutions, and I have abandoned hundreds of pages of work when I realised that they were going to fail for various reasons (cliche, strands pulling apart and so on).  However, I still want to tell the story even if some of the details change, even if some of the setting changes.

One of the problems I kept encountering was that whilst I liked the characters, and their goals, the rules of the world were just too convoluted.  Individually they were fine, but because they were not developed consistently.  I would write some stuff down one day, and then not add to it for months and thus forgot important stuff (highlighting the importance of Writing Daily – I did a post about that).  So, I started again.  I often start again when a rework is so monumental it would take equally long or longer to revise what I had.

I knew in my world I wanted the technology level to be somewhere between medieval and renaissance Europe.  I wanted Magic to be a thing, and even had the “laws” of magic in mind.  I didn’t want guns or cannons.  I knew I wanted necromancy and various states of vampirism to be a thing.  I knew that I wanted a Pantheist society, and I even had a few of the Gods worked out.  In my original lineup I had a major plot device spring from a division amongst the gods.  I penciled this in, but was less sure about it.  I had an idea for the over arching plot, and the underlying message and who the villain would be.  I wanted to keep that villain, so they were added as a character.  Though I decided that their background was going to be different as the original one was too convoluted and didn’t quite work.  I had all these ideas, and they weren’t dissimilar to the stuff that I had written before (yes there were some changes, but not many).  And I wondered how I could rationalise it all, and not forget it.  And that is when I decided to write, in brief, the history of my world.  Don’t get me wrong, at this stage basics were all that were necessary but I figured that I would write the history of my world and work into that history, into that story, how all the things I wanted would come to be.  And then I would have a reference document that I could update along the way, which I can then turn into a single document to read through anytime I need a refresher.  I used the software Scrivener, and if you click on the following video I will show you how I did it.

So, that short video deals with creating a history of your setting, in the example a history governing one of the rules of the world.  I alluded to it in the video, however I will reiterate it here.  I am more likely to remember the rules of my fantasy world if I remember the history, the story that created them.  This is because your brain remembers thinks that are more vivid and evocative.  History is a story.  Rules are bland.  Writing the background history establishes the why, and once you understand that you don’t forget it.  And, as an added bonus, writing background can generate unexpected story.

knowing the history of your world helps you remember the rules of the world and can generate story

It occurs to me that I have talked about needing to be able to understand the rules of my world but never said why.  And it is simple.  It is about consistency and stability.  If your world has sorcery that can conjure fireballs, seemingly from nothing, then that needs to be part of the rules of the world.  And thus that means anyone can do it under the right circumstances.  Fantasy Narratives are a hard pill for some folk to swallow, but nothing helps them fall apart more quickly than when the writer breaks their own rules.

So, does this seem like it is of use to you?  What do you do and how does it work for you?

The Importance of Writing (daily)

Hi there, welcome.  Today I am going to talk about writing.

Well duh, some of you said I imagine.  Ok, let me be specific.  If you go to any writer’s blog out there, and I mean any of them, sooner or later you will find a piece of advice telling you that you should write every day.  I am not denigrating that advice, frankly it is good advice.  If you want to become a marathon runner you need to exercise to build stamina else you are going to hit the wall very early on and never complete.  I am going to borrow from this analogy.  Writing is work, and it uses your brain.  Your brain is a muscle.  A muscle works best if it is regularly exercised.  Reading helps in this respect,

A Mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone quote from game of thrones, used in relation to things writers can do to keep their minds active and focused.

…and so does writing.  The more you write the better you get at it.  However, sometimes even the most talented or dedicated writer gets blocked.  Assuming of course you believe in writer’s block.  I think that is just a fancy term for a mixture of boredom and fear.  I may come back to that in a bit.  Anyway, moving on.  It is (relatively) easy to write everyday when you are feeling positive and when you are feeling inspired.  Some people will say that they can’t find the time.  I will say, I don’t believe you.

You always have some time, however you may choose to spend it doing other things.  And I do appreciate there are those out there with families and other jobs that demand a lot of their time.  My comments here are not really aimed at that demographic.  I daresay those folks could find some time to write, but perhaps in their case free time is a rarer commodity.  I am talking about the folks that do have plenty of time, but choose to spend it doing other things.  Tell me you don’t have free time and I will tell you that you are undisciplined.

That is something that people don’t always get at the outset.  If you are wanting to make a living from writing, or maybe you aren’t interested in a living but you want to publish a novel, then you need to be disciplined.  With discipline you can find the time to devote to your craft.

So, now we have time.  But we aren’t feeling up to it.  Being disciplined helps here too, however that isn’t everything.  After all, particularly if fiction is your forte, you are making stuff up and if you are feeling uninspired then, where do you start?

For some people it is free writing from a prompt, which if you don’t understand what that means it is fairly straightforward.

A writer is given a prompt, the start (or part of) a sentence and might start a paragraph using it as their first line.  Or As a line in the paragraph, or not at all and just writes what the prompt makes them think.  The important factor is that the writer takes the prompt and writes.  They don’t self edit, they don’t stop; they just write.

What comes out might be chaotic, it might be nonsense or it might be the start of something unexpected.  It doesn’t matter.  The quality doesn’t matter either at this point.  If the writer has been able to write anything, then the exercise has been a success.  That is free writing from a prompt.

Another method, that I personally find helps, is keeping a writer’s journal.  I find I am at my most prolific if I keep a journal every day about my writing.  Obviously if you spend your entire Saturday writing 3000 words of decent quality work, you aren’t necessarily going to want to spend loads of time writing about it.  If you are keeping a journal, enter the date and write down you wrote 3000 words on whatever topic it was you wrote.  That is enough.  However, the power of the journal comes into its own on those days you don’t write 3000 words for your novel or your script or your blog.   On those days I tend to start writing what I think about my work, start talking to myself on the page.  I write down what I want to do, asking myself “What are the consequences of this?”  And then I answer myself.  I might spend 500 or 1000 words talking to myself through the keyboard exploring an idea, and by the end of it I may be happy.  Or I may be closer to a solution.  Or maybe all I have done is figure out that something doesn’t work.  The key thing here is I was able to write.

I mentioned earlier I don’t really believe in writer’s block as a concept.  I humbly suggest that journal writing is a potential solution in two ways.

  1. If you are “Blocked” talking to yourself through your journal might actually present a solution
  2. Regardless of immediate solutions, keeping a journal forces you to write which functions as a warmup exercise, focusing your mind.

keeping a journal can help overcome writer's block by helping you talk to yourself and thus troubleshoot problems. And writing anything helps focus your mind which also helps overcome block.

I think I have arrived at the point I originally set out to make.  The purpose of this article was to encourage folks to write daily, and provide an answer for how to do that when it is difficult.  However, it is ultimately down to you – the individual – if you feel you can do this.  It is not for me to say what you should or should not do.  Only that my method as described has helped me, and I believe it can help others.

Just one final thought to ponder.  Imagine you wrote in a journal 500 words every day for a month.  In a 30 day month that is 15000 words, which equates to about 50 pages of a paperback.  500 words doesn’t take long to write once you are in a flow.  Maybe 30 minutes?  (It takes 30 minutes for me).  Now imagine, if that 500 words wasn’t in your journal, but your novel manuscript.  You’d have a decent length first draft in 6 months, spending half an hour a day.  Still think you don’t have time?

What are your thoughts on writing everyday?  I’d love to hear them.

To Plot or Not – a post shared and a discussion had

Hello everyone, and welcome.  Today I wanted to talk about plotting, or rather I wanted to draw your attention to a post I wrote on my gaming blog a while back.  Let me explain why you may find it relevant.  The original post is about creating the perfect roleplay game experience, by considering players and intent etc.  This specific post is about how much plotting a Gamesmaster might do in preparation for the game.  If you substitute the word Gamesmaster for writer, and the word player for reader there are a number of useful ideas that can be drawn from the post.  Click on the link in the excerpt to have a read of the original post, and then come back to see what I have to say afterwards.

Hello everyone, and welcome!  Today I am continuing my series of posts searching for the perfect roleplaying game experience.  Quick disclaimer, there is an affiliate link in this post.  This time …

Source: The Quest for the Perfect Game Chapter 4: To Plot or Not – It’s More than Just Gaming

Sometimes you write a story with an end in mind.  There is no problem with this.  If you start with an end in mind, by its very nature you are going to need to plan to a fair extent just to keep your story going in the right direction.

However, sometimes you write a story with the beginning in mind.  You have planned out characters and what has gone before, and your narrative happens as a result of asking yourself “How do my characters respond to this stimulus?”  Suddenly a narrative evolves organically and you are no longer a planner.  You are a gardener, planting seeds and seeing what flowers grow.  (I borrowed that from George RR Martin, from an interview of his from many years ago.

sometimes you plan a story based on the beginning and sometimes the end

Admittedly this method will work better for some stories, so for instance if you are writing a standalone mystery this methodology might work.  If you are writing a high fantasy series, you might want to plan a bit more.  The lesson to learn, I think, is to know that multiple methods of creating a narrative exist and when to apply them.

So, are you a planner, gardener, or a mix of both?  I have kept this post short as I am more interested in a discussion with you guys than in simply sharing an opinion.

Also – if you don’t play roleplay games, and get the opportunity and a good group, there are worse ways for a writer to pass the time.

Thanks for reading!

Genre – The Importance of Knowing which voice you are using

Hello everyone

Today I wanted to talk a bit about genre and voice for the purpose of creating the intended response.

When I was at University a large portion of my degree was spent sitting in a classroom reading other students’ work, and then providing feedback.  As you can imagine, there were lots of different styles, loads of stories and, as you might expect, varying skill levels.  By my final year, everything that I read was of a reasonable standard.  Not all of it was of interest, but the rookie mistakes were few and far between.  One day I was working my way through a pile of drafts and I found one whose title caught my eye.

Wendigo

Knowing that a Wendigo is a carnivorous, if not cannibalistic, spirit from North America I thought, “Great, a horror.”

I started reading a story about a bachelor party come hunting trip  gone horribly wrong, which made for a very good setting.  However, the tone and language read more like what I might expect from part of “The Hangover” series of movies.  It felt more like black comedy.  I was disappointed, however, it could easily have been intended as a Black Comedy and my expectations were unreasonable.  As was my responsibility,  I gave my feedback and noted that the tone was less horror and more comedy than I had expected.  I suggested, that if the writer was going for horror, they needed to change some of their language and the dialogue.  And that was that.  I never got to read the finished piece, which is a bit a shame really.  I hope the writer went on to produce a good piece of fiction.

It got me thinking.  In this case, Genre was defined by language and dialogue.  So, I started wondering, can we use this?

And the answer is, of course we can.  I attended University in an English city called Lancaster, which is about a thirty minute drive from the Lake District – a national park of hills, fells, mountains, and a lake.  Fun fact, there is only one lake in the Lake District.  The rest are Waters, Meres and Tarns.  The differences between them…are utterly irrelevant to me.  However, the Lake District is an idyllic setting of rolling landscapes, lush greenery and sparkling water.  Why am I telling you this?  Because the Lake District can also be cold, wet and blustery, isolated and dangerous.  The context of the place changes very drastically with a slight change of language.  Now, I am not for one minute suggesting that when you are writing about something grim and horrid, you simply change the background to reflect that.  That is pathetic fallacy, it is cliche.  The point I am making is that the same thing has multiple ways to describe it and the emotion evoked by differing descriptions is likely to be quite different.

A tree can be grand or looming.  A meadow can be peaceful or silent.  Fire can be warm or destructive.  A thesaurus is your friend when looking for alternative ways of describing things, though, a word of caution.  Don’t overdo it.  You’ll probably need to learn via trial and error to find the right balance, however I would categorically state that too much description takes us into the realms of overwriting.  To use a gardening analogy, seed a few descriptive words in your prose and let the emotional impact grow in the minds of your readers.

Seed a few descriptive words in your prose  Allow the the emotional impact to flower all by itself

Use words that evoke specific responses and let the reader do the rest.  Plant too many, and they fight for light and water, and diminish one another.

I think that is how you turn your voice to the genre you want.

What are your thoughts on this?  Have I overly simplified it?  Complicated it?  Have I forgotten something crucial?  Or do you agree?  I’d love to hear from you!