The most viewed of all my bloggeries (supposedly that’s the correct name for blog posts) is The Origin of the Grim Reaper. The second most viewed is Describing a Scene in an Interesting Way. The third is Describing a Character the Easy Way, and the fourth is Describing a Winter Scene. Apparently, writing description is a difficult subject to master. And so is deciding how much or how little to describe.
It seems as if this year we are getting plenty of winter. So, if you want to figure out how to describe a winter scene, don’t think of this a terrible winter but as a marvelous opportunity for learning how to describe a winter scene. The secret is to find the telling details — the sights, sounds, smell, feel, taste that evoke the entire feeling of the season. Even better is to find that which only you can experience. Icicles dripping from the eaves have been described a zillion times. (A slight exaggeration, but you get the point.) The crystalline aspect of ice-covered trees has probably been described as often. And so has that childhood horror of getting one’s tongue stuck to metal. But what about shadows on the snow? Rats. That’s been done, too.
Sitting at a computer and looking out the window is no way to come up with telling details, which is why I can’t think of a single way to describe winter that hasn’t already become a cliché. Winter looks like a Christmas card when looked at from inside, but it can only be experienced (and hence described) by going outside and . . . well, experiencing it.
So, I will leave you all to your chilblained fingers tapping on warm computer keys, and I will brave the elements. But don’t expect me to tell you what I learn. My winter is not your winter. We each have to describe the winter that only we can experience, otherwise there is no reason to describe it at all.