Cover image for Word painting : a guide to writing more descriptively
Word painting : a guide to writing more descriptively
McClanahan, Rebecca.
Personal Author:
First paperback edition.
Publication Information:
Cincinnati, Ohio : Writer's Digest, 2000.

Physical Description:
250 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
"10709"--P.4 of cover.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PE1427 .M38 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Let Rebecca McClanahan guide you through an inspiring examination of description in its many forms. With her thoughtful instruction and engaging exercises, you'll learn to develop your senses and powers of observation to uncover the rich, evocative words that accurately portray your mind's images. McClanahan includes dozens of descriptive passages written by master poets and authors to illuminate the process. She also teaches you how to weave writing together using description as a unifying thread.

Author Notes

Rebecca McClanahan's tenth book, The Tribal Knot , a multi-generational memoir, is forthcoming from Indiana University Press in 2013. Other books include The Riddle Song and Other Rememberings , winner of the Glasgow Prize in nonfiction, and Deep Light: New and Selected Poems . Her work has appeared in Best American Essays , Best American Poetry , The Pushcart Prize anthology, The Kenyon Review , The Gettysburg Review , The Sun , and numerous anthologies. Recipient of a Pushcart Prize in fiction and the Wood Prize from Poetry , McClanahan teaches in the MFA programs of Queens University and Rainier Writing Workshop.

Please visit her website at

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
1 What Is Description?p. 4
2 The Eye of the Beholderp. 13
3 From Eye to Word: The Descriptionp. 36
4 The Nose and Mouth and Hand and Ear of the Beholderp. 62
5 Figuratively Speaking: A "Perception of Resemblances"p. 86
6 Bringing Characters to Life Through Descriptionp. 114
7 The Eye of the Teller: How Point of View Affects Descriptionp. 137
8 The Story Takes Its Place: Descriptions of Settingp. 171
9 Plot and Pace: How Description Shapes the Narrative Linep. 194
10 The Big Picturep. 216
End Notes, Toward A Beginningp. 240
About the Authorp. 242
Selected Bibliographyp. 243
Indexp. 246