Taylor adequately conveys the character’s emotion through an unusual but perfect comparison: the sound of nails pulling out of a wood plank.
We’ve all heard that noise; it makes me wince just thinking about it.
Here are a few of the methods I’ve learned: Writing is hard work.
Sometimes, when we get hung up on a certain passage, it’s easiest to fall back on the phrasings that are most comfortable: butterflies in the stomach, snow that sparkles like diamonds, a peaches-and-cream complexion, etc.
Stiefvater could have focused on the boy’s eyes or musculature or coloring to describe his looks.
But by zooming out and viewing him as a whole, she was able to describe him from that vantage point and come up with something new and interesting.
If you find yourself in this position, change your focus.
What else could you use to convey your description accurately to readers?
For help in this area, the descriptive thesaurus collection at One Stop For Writers is a good place to start. Writers are creatures of habit; we get used to seeing things a certain way and describing them from that perspective.
Father’s silence is not merely the absence of sound. But if we zoom out and look at the object as a whole, we’re able to see it and describe it differently.