Fantasy Writing: Descriptive Writing Challenge by Ryan M. Danks (Updated 9/15/13)

 N.S.W.: Never Stop Writing!

*Day 6, 9/15/13, UPDATED Below*

Even though I’ve been doing the Writing Prompt Blitz-o-Rama, I’ve recently stopped posting my stories here, as I’m going to wait until I finish my second week and post them all in one big mega clump. So that’ll be coming at the end of this week sometime.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to accept a challenge from Ryan M. Danks’s blog which you can view here: Ryan M. Danks.

Here’s also a link that Mr. Danks provided that may help you with your descriptions:

This challenge has the potential to be one of the most helpful ones I’ve ever accepted, but I don’t think it’s going to be a cakewalk. I’m going to post all my progress in this one entry and see how things turn out.

As I post my daily entries, I may share a little bit of info or thoughts about them. This post is going to grow to be extremely long, so what I may do it bump my most recent entry to the top and “archive” the older ones toward the bottom.

Here are the basic rules:

  • 10 one-sentence descriptions of characters.
  • 10 one-sentence descriptions of items or locations.
  • 1 paragraph description of a character.
  • 1 paragraph description of an item or location.

This is to go on for 30 days. It’s like the P90X for insane writers, of which I’m among. Follow along with me on this journey. It will not be easy. And there will be blood. Oh yes, there will be blood.

Day 6: 9/15/13

Doing all 1st person this go around.

A. Character Descriptions (Sentences)

1.I smelled of diapers, cigarettes, and melted ice cream.

2.No one admired my crushed velvet dress, least of all myself.

3. No mater how many times I tucked my shirt in, I still looked sloppy and totally unprepared for the business world..

4.My teeth were coffee-stained to hell and back, a fact that was made more obvious dancing under the strobe lights of the club.

5.I held my bloody hand, cursing the day I met that barbarian.

6.I didn’t like working, and let everyone know by plastering bumper stickers to the effect all over my car.

7.I blinked at the blank computer screen as it turned blue and my heart jumped up into my throat.

8.I reeked of garlic and onions.

9. I chomped my fingernails down to nubs waiting for the results from the election.

10.I was too cold to put on a jacket.

B. Item or Location Descriptions (Sentences)

1.I saw the bowl of cold pasta, stray noodles stretching out like grasping tentacles.

2.There was a piece of toast plastered on the ceiling.

3. I found the cracked egg on my windshield with the polite message “Die” scribbled in yolk.

4. The gun-oil filled the room, causing me to sneeze uncontrollably.

5. The fermented beans smelled strongly of unwashed socks.

6. The grapes were squished underneath the car’s tires, purple juice trailing down the driveway.

7. The smell of her cherry perfume sent my heart racing.

8.The ice exploded against my face, blinding me with a bright white light.

9.The gum was so hard, I had to chisel it off with my pencil.

10.The taste of lukewarm soup made me feel even more depressed.

C. Character Description (Paragraph)

I have trouble sometimes. Not normal people troubles, but wizardly trouble. I forget spells, trigger them on accident, or sometimes even go days without casting one. It makes it hard to stay focused. I don’t like using magic that much, so maybe that’s one reason I can’t stay focused. I much prefer cooking. Cooking and eating. Those are my passions. I wish my father would back off with the wizard school nonsense. Just let me be a chef. Then I could work magic in the kitchen.

D. Item or Location Description (Paragraph)

The butcher knife gleamed with blood. A piece of freshly cut steak lie on the chopping board, red juices seeping out from underneath. I seasoned it with salt and pepper and tossed it onto the grill. The smell of grilling meat swarmed over me. I almost wanted to just pick it up and eat it raw. That’s how juicy this steak was. I remained patient though, over the hum of insects and screaming children, and watched as the glorious piece of meat smoked and browned before my eyes.

Day 5: 9/14/13
A. Character Descriptions (Sentences)

1.The goblin shuffled into the dark room, slobber and blood dripping from his chin.

2.Alexei stood on the edge of the cliff, eyes straight ahead, watching the dragon burst out of the clouds.

3. The emaciated sorcerer brought the ivory pipe to his cracked lips, smoke curling around his head.

4.Tasha sat cross-legged on the cold marble floor, eyes flashing through a litany of shades and colors.

5. Donovan’s arm fell off and all he could do is look down and shrug.

6. Swirling green mists tumbled from Golazio’s blackened lips, his cackle echoing against the walls.

7.I crossed Peter’s name off the list until the pen tore through the paper and scratched against the desk.

8. The elf stuffed his face with so much salad, the oily dressing left an oily sheen on his fingers and lips.

9. I split skulls by day, cooked feasts by night.

10.Cardabrant toyed with the tequila worm before jabbing it with his fork and tossing it to the dog.

B. Item or Location Descriptions (Sentences)

1.The rats were fat and full of plots.

2.The black dog sat on the grave, its ears at attention, eyes unwavering.

3.No one visited Glarod because of the insects; the swarming, never-ending hum of insects.

4. The dagger skittered across the dragon’s scales and snapped in half with a sharp squeal of metal.

5.The bath stunk of seven layers of dirt.

6.The golden watch popped when it hit the ground, gears and screws exploding out of its busted face.

7. The turtles swam together, their pattern slow and mesmerizing.

8.The razorback died snorting and sputtering.

9.The river smelled like my old girlfriend’s perfume: toxic.

10.The sun was snuffed out like a candle, dripping purple wax across the skyline.

C. Character Description (Paragraph)

Drala picked her teeth and tossed the bones into a bucket near her feet. She stretched out, groaning, her massive forearms slamming up against the back wall of the cave. She belched long and hard, the walls shaking with the force. A tiny human looked up at her, a stick or a sword clutched in its hands. She flicked him away with her finger and began her third nap of the day.

D. Item or Location Description (Paragraph)

 The swamp pulsed with life: rats, frogs, dragonflies, and little black birds. Deeper in, the poisonous Alaeri mushrooms throbbed, their spores waiting for any living thing to approach. The swamp hags built dams to keep the water under their control, but the alligators and mud drakes wrecked the little structure the chaotic swamp featured. Broken swords and shattered helms bobbed in the muck, guiding any would-be traveler to their proper end.

Day 4: 9/13/13

A. Character Descriptions (Sentences)

1. The pale man scratched his yellowed fingernails across the table, snickering as everyone looked over at him.

2. Sura broke through the ice with her fist, jerked out a fish, its mouth clamped around her bloody arm.

3. I could smell three necromancers in the room; either that or someone was wearing really horrible perfume.

4. If Logian had hair, I bet it would have been long and luxurious.

5. Arant coaxed an olive out of the bottle with only his tongue, much to the disgust of the three older women sitting across from him.

6. A blue cloak meant death, that much Marjorie knew.

7. Bajil stroked his long beard so many times his beer had little hairs floating in it.

8. I wasn’t sure if that was a moose storming in to the barn, or Lazar.

9. Bloody tears smeared the cheeks of Karao, a tear for each one of his victims.

10. Shandrick’s head was like a split onion.

B. Item or Location Descriptions (Sentences)

1. The rain was cold and tasted of war.

2. The vultures pecked around the corpse of the fallen knight, their beaks probing inside his open helmet.

3. A pixie skated across the pond on glittery feet, leaving a trail of rippling dust behind her.

4. The busted melon sat lonely on the porch, its guts leaking down to the cats below.

5. A mosquito buzzed past my face, bloated and drunk from too much blood.

6. The swamp predicted failure.

7. The dusty wig sat on the chair, abandoned by one too many actors before.

8. A bony angel descended down from the boughs of the blasted tree, its mouth twisted into a grisly grin.

9. The slug rested on Tala’s lips.

10. The apple pie flooded the room with memories.

C. Character Description (Paragraph)

Olez towered over most normal elves, his shaved head making his pointed ears even more pronounced. He skulked instead of stalking, grunted instead of whispering. A cloak made of bear pelts made some scoff, but when he told them he killed each bear with only a knife, they stopped. He fingered the pommel of his sword at all times, a nervous twitch he developed from the Gazlian Wars. If anyone was going to pull the elves out of their self-loathing and misery, it probably wouldn’t be Olez. He was too busy killing to bother leading.

D. Item or Location Description (Paragraph)

The necropolis of Goomgra chattered with the sounds of warblers. I didn’t know why they stayed there. They weren’t morose or dramatic birds like ravens. They seemed to be attracted to a specific gray leafed tree that gave shade to the bodies of long dead warlords and warriors. When I approached, they whistled in unison. Either a beautiful warning or a welcome to death.

Day 3: 9/12/13

Today I’m going to try some new characters and other things.

A. Character Descriptions (Sentences)

1.The soldier’s crusty lips and matching uniform let me know he wasn’t prepared for a war with giant, psychic ants.

2.Magic didn’t so much surge out of Illian like it did other wizards, it just kind of leaked out and dribbled across the floor.

3.Bartha bled better than any other man I’d seen, flailing his arms and silently screaming like a dying fish.

4.Mildred didn’t believe in soap; she claimed it washed all the character from her skin.

5.Lanner swished into the room, snatched a grape from out of the bowl, heard the screaming, and shuffled back out into the night.

6. After eating all the cake, Prando looked like he’d punched and clawed his way through a wall made of icing.

7. Alonzo’s face resembled the side of an eroded cliff, bird shit and all.

8. Jaryn’s hair curled around her ears like frayed, tangled vines.

9.Frezel tucked his body and rolled over the spring-loaded trap, a blur of hair and snapping iron.

10.Bodua climbed out of the tar pit, tongue wagging, his hulking body lumbering toward us.

B.  Item or Location Descriptions (Sentences)

1. The lake never stopped rippling.

2.The white flag wavered in the wind, tattered and blotched with bloody hand prints.

3.Ilza City was the kind of place you never left, mostly because they’d snap a collar on your neck and put you in the tiger pits.

4. The glowing bird rested on the cactus, our only light in the starless night across the sands of Leerim.

5.The bouquet of flowers smelled like desperation and lies, Katrim’s signature scent.

6.The only good thing about Razaka was its buttered rolls.

7. The pegasus crashed into the tree tops, its wings flapping as it tried to get untangled from the branches.

8.The boar squatted in the brush, its horns the only thing giving it away.

9. Broken glass rained from the sky on most normal days in Podlin.

10.The cat curled up on top of the dragon’s scales, licking its paws in complete ambivalence to where it sat.

C. Character Description (Paragraph)

Crolum coughed, snorted, and belched his way over to the fortune teller’s booth. After reading his filthy palm for a split second, she winced, but tried to look optimistic. She laid out three cards, all bad, and swept them away, laughing and waving away their insignificance. The fortune teller had never met a man as horrid and destined for failure as Crolum. His lopsided head, bulbous nose, and thin lips suggested a life of torment and misery. But his eyes. Blue within green, like a field of grass with a bathing pool nestled in the middle. How could such a wretch have such gorgeous eyes?

D. Item or Location Description (Paragraph)

The body cart sat on the side of the road, piles of dead elves stacked upon each other. No one paid it any heed as they passed or even showed that they smelled it. They just carried on, hoping that no one would claim it. The longer it sat there, the better. Some took to sprinkling lime around it or tossing sprigs of herbs in order to reduce the stench. The crows didn’t mind though. They did a dance across the backs and bellies of the elves, singing the glories of their fortune to anyone unfortunate enough to travel down Gazner Road.

Day 2: 9/11/13

For Day 2 I’m going to attempt to describe all the same characters I did for Day 1, but in a different way (from different POVs). It’ll be interesting to see how this works out.

I’m going to change up all the items and locations, but make them from a 1st person POV.

A. Character Descriptions (Sentences)

1. Blava Rullo reminded me of a greasy hippo wallowing in a sea of stained coins and glistening flesh.

2. Melissa Zerik didn’t answer a question without sneering and flicking a switchblade first to see if you’d flinch.

3. Gaseous stuff of nightmares seeped out of Gundal’s pores, making him a horrible bunk mate for a week’s journey across the Sea of Prakal.

4. The only time I’d seen Unther sober was at his father’s funeral and that was only because his mother stood rigid and pale beside him, clutching his arm in a death grip.

5. Arthur didn’t drink his beer, he sipped and lapped it with his tongue.

6. I never imagined I’d find a lizard woman to be that striking, but I couldn’t help thinking who in the hell helped her get into the dress without losing a couple of fingers.

7. A dead harpy lie across Jayfarrow’s lap; he pulled each feather out one at time, smiling at the longer ones.

8. The vampire hunter’s eyes drooped as he stumbled into the bar, his fingernails still caked in dried blood.

9. Yarza gave me the feeling that by the end of the night I was going to screaming her name, for better or worse.

10. I was of the belief that even if you beat Nathan Rounds within a inch of his life, he would let out one more defiant snicker just to prove he always laughed last.

B.  Item or Location Descriptions (Sentences)

1. The ocean stretched on longer than even my fondest memories.

2. No one sat in my great uncle’s chair, not so much out of respect, but because it stank of stale sweat, nacho cheese, and failure.

3. I swallowed in the city of Talga and then I spit it back out.

4. Mountains were meant to be admired, not to make you piss your pants when they crashed into a city of one hundred thousand people.

5. The sword melted under the heat of the wizard’s flames, flopping around like taffy on its hilt.

6. The poisonous Gladva flowers welcomed you in with their luminescent petals, but would be quick to eject a tiny dart into an interloper’s eye.

7. Nagas don’t like strangers, and they let you know by hissing and beating their tails against the sand until either you run or they choke the shit out of you.

8.The bread they gave me tasted like warm cork board.

9.The roasted duck soaked in a pool of its own juices, the skin honey-glazed and crispy brown.

10.Dead dragons smell like rotting eggs, at least the ones I’ve killed.

C. Character Description (Paragraph)

Naza collected ears like some collected coins. They were his currency, his way of life. It didn’t matter what kind of ear. He’d slice it right off with that crescent moon shaped knife he kept hooked around his belt. I guessed that he sold the ears for something, but I wasn’t quite sure some days. I’d find him sitting in the grass, laying out the dried, stinking ears like playing cards, shuffling them around until he was happy with the display. I even caught him stroking the pointed end of an elf’s ear one morning, causing me to promptly toss my scrambled eggs in the brush.

D. Item or Location Description (Paragraph)

The Red Room was white, not quite what I was expecting for our honeymoon suite. I found the sterility and cleanness of everything unnerving to the point that I just wanted to grind my dirty boots into the curtains. White roses sat in a white vase on a small table. These roses didn’t even have a hint of brown or a curl to their petals. The ideal image of a what any normal person’s white rose would be. I couldn’t resist the urge to crush the rose in my hands and scatter the petals across the bed. At least then I could tell my wife I was doing it to be romantic and not to disrupt the cold perfectness of the room.

Day 1: 9/10/13

A. Character Descriptions (Sentences)

1. As Blava Rullo rolled a cigarette on his pock-marked, bulging belly, he licked the wine mustache from his upper lip with his purplish tongue.

2. Despite all the blood on her blouse, Melissa slumped down in the old rocking chair and finished her book.

3. Gundal cracked a coconut against his own gourd-like head, drained the milk into a filthy mug, and gulped it down as the other soldiers looked on in awe and disgust.

4. Unther slithered into bed, the mud and booze smeared on his nightshirt leaving a slug’s trail across the sheets.

5. Arthur couldn’t decide which blue hat he wanted to wear for the basilisk hunt, so he just stuffed all of them into his assistant’s worn knapsack and waved him away. 

6. The lizard-woman’s simple lace dress stretched over her bulky frame, a single red rose hung limp and crumpled at her collar.

7. A necklace of talons hung around Jayfarrow’s sunburned neck, his pin-prick eyes peering out from underneath his worn, feather-infested bowler hat.

8. A smell of bones, soup, and mediocre sex clung to the balding vampire hunter as he left the centuries old brothel, yawning and checking his silver stop watch.

9. Yarza crossed her long, scarred legs and stared across the bar, her one good eye winking as the hulking half-ogre lumbered toward her.

10. Nathan Rounds snorted so often, some may have mistaken him for a pig seeking truffles.

B.  Item or Location Descriptions (Sentences)

1. The harpy’s nest reeked of old blood and something sickly sweet, perhaps the bundled, blood-soaked sack buzzing with flies lying in the center.

2. The twisted black wand reminded Jola of a singed root, save the gleaming ruby jammed into its end.

3. Malladra looked like a town that had experienced over twenty floods and survived none of them.

4. The glass table fractured under the weight of orb, its colors swirling like mixed paints.

5. Tom’s knife looked better suited to spreading butter than slaying giant crabs, but it could split a shell in two with only a flick of his wrist.

6. The busted door hung on blasted hinges, cracks spider-webbed out from the center where the wizard’s fist struck.

7. The chandelier rocked back and forth, the crystals tingling even as the goblin bashed its helmeted head against it.

8. The tornado swelled to great heights, the flames swirling inside like fiery razors.

9. The sliver of soap proved just enough to finish Claudio’s bath, as it dissipated into a swarm of bubbles.

10. The grass looked browner than a dead dragon’s teeth.

C. Character Description (Paragraph)

Taria didn’t so much enter a room as she obliterated it. Her raucous laughter could be heard before she reached the door, and others would clutch their breakables to their chests. Like a whirlwind of screeches and squeals, she battered down the door, engaging everyone and everything in her path. She kicked a mug from a patron’s hand, watched it sore up into the air, and caught it square on her forehead. Only to bow to the applauding crowd and shattering it into a million pieces across the floor. She stepped on the glass barefoot, gleefully smiling and waving to everyone, even as they all winced and covered their eyes.

D. Item or Location Description (Paragraph)

Thousands of lanterns, some lit, some rusted and creaking, hung in Gloria’s winter cave. Pelts of bears, wolves, and even yetis stretched out across her floor, their dead eyes welcoming her home. Steam rose from a hot spring nestled in the corner, various stolen soaps and salts scattered around the jagged edges. Dozens of chests, locks pried or busted open, lined up against the smooth, white walls, the dresses of fair maidens spilling out. A pile of burnt bones littered the floor, blood-drawn etchings scrawled around them. A couple of hooded cockatrices squawked in a swinging cage, their breath coming out in a thin mist.

That’s it for Day 1. That was pretty difficult, but didn’t take me too long. Good deal!