Description is the heart of a novel, the main course, the end-all-be-all of it because, well, it tells the story. This is where a writer’s style and voice are present the most; certainly, they have a hand in shaping the dialogue, but that is where the characters’ voices are, not the author’s. A lot of writers don’t understand though what “style” and “voice” truly mean. They assume that how they write is both their style and their voice, but that’s so general an understanding- the difference again between learning and studying. Your style, yes, includes how you utilize different sentence lengths, but it isn’t there in the sentences, it’s there in how you utilize them to create a rhythm in your story. That’s not all there is to style but it shows how only knowing something on the surface can be deceptive. Voice likewise isn’t simply what you write. Voice is in the details that you notice, the things that you see that another writer wouldn’t. Where someone else first describes the chandelier in a ballroom, you might first mention how your character noticed her heels stick to the floor of this swanky place. Voice creates mood, sets tone, makes the readers laugh or cry, makes your work memorable. The thing though is that your voice can often get lost in an early draft when you are fleshing it out just because there is So Much Stuff to tell. This exercise is going to be about voice and mood. For this exercise, we aren’t going to deal with characters at all, we’re going to deal simply with rooms and describing them. You are going to take time describing one room at a time, beginning with a particular object on a table in that room being mindful of the mood that you are going to attempt to create with your description. On the next page is a list of objects and a list of moods. Pick something from List A, then something from List B. An important thing to remember here: have fun. You can set these in any rooms you imagine. The more creative you get here, the better. Just start with the item in question and spiral your way out. Take your time and do at least five or six rooms. The object here is to engage your brain in a different way. You aren’t telling a story. There’s no pressure to tell a story. You are simply describing a room and noticing what catches your own attention as you do so while making that description fit the chosen mood - have fun! List A: Items a balloon a harpoon gun a birthday cake an old music box a weasel a bunch of lonely left socks a unicycle an empty gallon of bleach a taxidermied exotic dancer a treasure map Bela Lugosi’s suspenders the hood of an Aston Martin a cauldron of rice pudding List B: Moods tense joyful sinister silly lazy nostalgic horrific inviting warm sad excited bored creepy Feel free to add anything that fits the scope of each list and happy describing!