Best Descriptive Writing Sites Describing the beauty of nature
Today’s post shows how to describe a witch using 10 different features. We all think of a witch as having a broomstick, a loud cackle and the morals of a wharf rat -and we’re right! When you are writing a descriptive paragraph on a witch, it is probably better to hone in on more specific details, however. Is she looking at you in a certain way? How do her teeth and skin give an insight into her character? What colour is her hair -is it the stereotypical, pagan-black or is it much worse and straw-like? These are all the characteristics you should have prepared in your ‘mind’s eye’ (your imagination) before you start to write. Underneath are some helpful hints in describing a witch.
There are 5 levels of ability to choose your words and phrases from, as always. They range from basic english to advanced. The first hurdle you may have to jump is choosing an adjective for her ugly features. Here are 10 to help you out. Only choose a word you are comfortable with, where possible.
Level 1 – beastly/ monstrous
Level 2 – grisly/ ghastly
Level 3 – gruesome/ grotesque
Level 4 – hideous/ repugnant
Level 5 – execrable/ abominable
Her hair was:
Level 1 – straw-like/ lifeless
Level 2 – greasy/ grimy
Level3 – knotted/ matted
Level 4 – lank/ lice-infected
Level 5 – lustreless/ oleaginous
She had….. eyes:
Level 1 – feline (of a cat, cunning eyes)/ serpentine (of a serpent, hooded eyes)
Level 2 – leonine (of a lion, fierce eyes)/ lupine (of a wolf, savage eyes)
Level 3 – vulpine (of a fox, wily eyes)/ taurine (of a bull, wild eyes)
Level 4 – simian (of an ape, ferocious eyes)/ saurian (of a lizard, lidded eyes)
Level 5 – anguine eyes (of a snake, calculating eyes)/ arachnid (of a spider, pitiless eyes)
She had a…..nose:
Level 1 – hawkish/ hooked
Level 2 – barbarous/ vulturous
Level 3 – cob/ bulbous
Level 4 – pug/ snub
Level 5 – raven’s/ misshapen, raptor’s
Her voice was:
Level 1 – gravelly/hissing
Level 2 – jeering/ grating
Level 3 – raspy/ wheezing
Level 4 – a sickly, grainy/ a sibilant
level 5 – a grit-and-gravy/ a vile, cackling
Level 1 – buck-toothed/ gapped
Level 2 – jagged/ serrated
Level 3 – broken-glass/ filed-down
Level 4 – saw-toothed/ crenelated
Level 5 – snaggle-toothed/ tombstone
Level 1 – bushy/ cruel and jagged
Level 2 – bristly/ brambly
Level 3 – beetle-browed/ hirsute
Level 4 – sickle-shaped/ scythe-shaped
Level 5 – fireworshipper-black/ shaped like fish hooks
Her eyes were…..
Level 1 – blazing with hatred/ flaming with anger
Level 2 – flashing with cruelty/ gleaming with cunning
Level 3 – glinting with hostility/ glittering with violence
Level 4 – shimmering with spite/ shining with malice
Level – scorching with odium/ smouldering with vengeance
Her face was:
Level 1 – faded/ care-worn
Level 2 – time-decayed/ time-gashed
Level 3 – seasoned/ effete
Level 4 – time-chiselled/ time-decayed
Level 5 – world weary/ wizened
1. She had thin, bloodless lips.
2. She had skin like snakeskin leather.
3. She had dead-fish eyes.
4. She had a wart the size of a saucer on her nose.
5. She had the manners of a bin-fly.
6. She had pitted and pockmarked skin.
7. She had skin as cold and white as a winter’s moon.
8. She had facial hairs as tough as boar bristles.
9. She had arthritic, spindly legs, like an old spider.
10. Her skin had a zombie-white, colourless pall to it.
I hope you enjoyed the descriptions above. They are designed to breathe life into your story. I will pick out some words or phrases from each section, in sequence, and we will see what a sample paragraph would look like.
The billion-fold hiss of water dripping echoed in the cave. I kept going, even though I didn’t have a torch and I was hopelessly lost. It was casket-black down here and I was afraid that I mightn’t make it out alive. I thought I could hear a murmuring in the distance and when I moved towards the sound, I was thrilled to see a light shining. My fear turned to horror when I gazed upon the old crone inside.
She was hideous of appearance, mumbling to herself with that dreamy, ghastly smile. Her hair was lank and lustreless, falling around her like strings of rotting straw. A cauldron bubbled slowly in the corner, leaving off the most infernal and rancid vapours. Bits of frogs’ legs, bat wings and eyes of newt were scattered around the floor of the cave. Her lupine eyes, savage and cunning, only came to life when she muttered certain arcane words from a spell. They perched above her hawkish and hooked nose. From it sprang the most preposterous wart. It was at least the size of a saucer. It would have been funny if the scene wasn’t so Stoker-esque.
Her wheezy, cackling voice rose higher and higher as she neared the end of her incantation. A row of teeth, blackened and broken into stubs, like old tombstones, lay below her fireworshipper-black eyebrows. They hinted at her cruelty as they arced up and over her dead-fish eyes like sickles. Those eyes suddenly shimmered with the spite of a thousand years as she turned fully towards me and pinned me with her gaze. She traced a leathery tongue around her thin, bloodless lips while she looked me up and down from crown to ankle. Her spindly, arthritic legs moved rapidly, like an old spider, covering the distance between us in a flash. I was transfixed. I couldn’t move my arms or legs. I was the fly in the web.
She leaned her face towards mine and I could smell the mildewy and sickly passage of her breath. ” Dinner is served”, she whispered.
For much more of the above, please check out my books ‘Writing with Stardust’ and ‘Blue-Sky Thinking’ by clicking on the book covers underneath.
World Book Day 2015
As an author living in Lincolnshire, I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in World Book Day at Immingham’s Oasis Academy on Thursday, 5th March. When I arrived, I was greeted by the lovely Sally Broadley and Lorraine Glover who took me straight over to see the new library. The school have recently moved it to the ground floor for easy access for the pupils and it looked wonderful. I was thrilled to see an array of new books not to mention, sofa’s for the pupils to lounge on, but the best thing of all was the corner dedicated to ‘The Magic Trilogy’ and my new book Clump, A Changeling’s Story. I was a little overwhelmed but appreciative all the same. I felt truly blessed to be supported so strongly by the school.
I’d been invited to hold a creative workshop with three groups over the course of the morning. Last year, I held a similar workshop where the pupils learned how to use pictures and images to help them with their descriptive writing. I’m a great believer in using visuals to help stimulate the brain and personally think that using pictures helps writers to create scenes and viable characters when writing. You see, with pictures you can see beyond your own imagination, you’re tapping into someone else’s and therefore see colour, shapes and depth, through their eyes. At a glance you may witness a picture much stronger than your own mind’s eye could have conjured up or perhaps you just see things you would never have thought of yourself.
The pupils and staff of Immingham’s Oasis Academy with copies of ‘The Magic Trilogy’
For example when writing about a dragon you may have a basic image in your head but by using a picture you can see the length of the horns, how large the teeth really are and see those wide nostrils flare. You may also see scales running down the dragon’s back. Perhaps there are sharp horns on its head that you never thought about adding? Maybe there’s more than one dragon in the picture, is it part of a colony? Artists are superb at capturing these images on paper and are a useful tool which I find writers can use for inspiration or when suffering from writers block.
After having a meeting with Sally and Lorraine earlier in the month we decided it would be fun for the pupils to learn how to describe a witch. To make the lesson more interesting, I didn’t just want to use traditional witches, oh no, I looked much further afield to see what other countries classed as a witch. I certainly did my homework and found a very varied selection of creatures. These ranged from characters associated with Steampunk, a genre made popular since the mid-eighties, to tribal Indian witchdoctors. My aim was to show students that using pictures really can ignite your imagination and that as a writer you don’t always have to go with what is deemed as conventional.
I was quite excited when I arrived at the school. After last year’s success, I was rather looking forward to reading more creative writing by the pupils and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. At the beginning of the first lesson I explained what are thought to be the characteristics of a traditional witch. We usually identify a witch by her clothes, long, dark cloak, pointed hat and broomstick but I wanted to take the lesson one step further. First of all I passed around images of traditional witches. Some were stirring cauldrons; others looked quite mean whilst they crept into the darkness followed by a black cat. The students nodded when I showed them the pictures, but I could see that the spark I was looking for wasn’t there yet so I began passing alternatives. These were of Gothic witches, hideous, horned women and frightening tribal warriors.
The difference in the pupils demeanour was instantaneous. They began chatting excitedly; pointing out to one another factors which they thought made their witch look frightful. Some characters were dressed in black with long painted fingernails yet had beautiful faces. Others showed women in their Steampunk outfits with spell books glowing at their fingertips whilst a few looked demonic wearing skulls and horns.
I allowed each pupil to choose a picture which they felt interested them. I even threw in a few ghastly wizards and some Steampunk males dressed in gold painted armour and a string of gadgets dangling from their waists. This turned out to be very popular with the male pupils of the school. Once the students had chosen a picture, I then gave out worksheets which would help them describe their witch. I’d decided that this lesson would be more about describing the actual character and the worksheets would help them to think up appropriate words.
I made ten outlines to help create the witch, using my book Sinners of Magic to show the pupils how I created my own.
- Usually the first thing you may think about is your witch’s face. Is she repugnant/monstrous/ghastly or simply hideous or is she/he the most beautiful/handsome creature you have ever set eyes upon?
- How would you describe their features? World weary or wizened? Perhaps decayed or care-worn? Her skin could be wrinkled beyond recognition or she may suffer facial hair that’s as tough as a broom’s twigs. She could even suffer warts or have pockmarked skin.
Then again, is she beautiful, alluring, bewitching, graceful, dazzling, angelic?
- Now you can take into account things such as her eyes. What shape are they? Would you say they were like a cat’s, cunning and shrewd or perhaps they are like a snake’s – hooded and calculating? Her eyes may glow fiercely, look savage or show raw hunger. Do they flash with cruelty or shimmer with spite?
On the other hand, are they alluring, captivating, or do you see a flash of silver explode inside her iris?
Already we are building a picture that doesn’t look like the typical ‘Wicked Witch of the West’ and the character you are creating is no longer such a stereotype.
- Her hair – is it like straw or is it matted, dark and lice infested? Or is it sleek like satin, rich in colour, as black as coal, or does it shine like the sun?
- What about her nose? Will you go for the traditional hooked beak or will it be slightly bulbous or even resemble something huge like a vultures? If you’re going for beauty, is it small and petite or long and thin?
- Her lips – are they thin and bloodless or like slits, showing a row of rotten teeth? Does she have full red lips or a perfect Cupid’s bow?
- Her legs – Does she have legs that are spindly, is her back bent double? Are her legs long and shapely?
- How does she sound? Will it be a cackle? Or will her voice hiss? Some witches have a gravelly note whilst others simply rasp. Is it her voice that lures you to your death? Does it sound like angels are calling? Do you feel safe and warm when she speaks to you, giving a false sense of security?
- Her clothing- Is she dressed in dirty rags or wearing a gown that is fit for a queen?
- Where does she live? – In a hovel, a den, inside a tree, a palace or in the forest? All these things will have an impact on how your reader perceives your character and are very important.
Take a look at how I have described Lilura, the witch in my fist novel Sinners of Magic …
“Lilura was dressed in long, dark robes, which rested upon the straw-covered floor. The hem of her clothing was tatty with age, a string of dried dirt clinging to the bottom of her garment. She was old enough to be his great-grandmother, and her skin was dry and paper thin, wrinkled in some places and stretched to the point of splitting in others. Her face was haggard beyond any recognition, but her eyes were sharp and alive.”
I was thrilled to see the pupil’s were filled with enthusiasm. They only had twenty minutes to write their masterpiece and they were keen to get started. The writing got underway and there was a lot of scribbling going on. The end result was truly astounding. Many of the pupils were eager to read out their pieces of work to the rest of the class and I was stunned by the quality of the content. Their descriptive writing was pretty impressive and also very mature for their age. One young man even received a ‘Golden Ticket’ from a teacher because she was blown away by the standard of his writing.
This young man won a ‘Golden Ticket’ for his superb description of a witch – WTG!
Once the classes were finished I chatted to the teachers who were over the moon by what the students had achieved. To see them working so hard and achieve so much in such a short period of time made the whole day worthwhile for everyone.
A huge ‘Thank You’ to Sally Broadley and Lorraine Glover for inviting me to take part in World Book Day. I had a blast and I must add how they looked marvellous in their outfits dressed as Willy Wonker and Pippi Longstocking!
I get a real buzz working with young people and I know I’ve said it before and I will say it again …
If I can nurture just one child’s writing then I have made a difference.
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