Description is the mortar that holds a book together.
Without it characters would exist in an empty, featureless world and action would take place in black hole. The best plot and the most appealing characters can be lost in bad descriptions -- or the complete absence of them.
A-Able turned onto the runway. The rotating blades of the four propellers caught the light from the flare path and formed ethereal silver disks in the darkness. Otherwise, the aircraft blended into the night. Painted a mat black, the hulking dark shape hung suspended between a pair of navigation lights, one on the tip of each nearly invisible wing. A tiny greenhouse lit by eerie bluish lights floated above yet astride the barely perceptible fuselage. Inside this tiny glass structure, dark shapes moved.
To Kit's left a green light appeared. The earth beneath his feet started to vibrate as the engines changed their tone from a low growl to a high-pitched roar. The black thing started rolling towards them; the eerie lighting grew larger and the shapes inside became human heads.
The massive machine rushed toward the cluster of spectators, gaining speed. Then the great winged monster whisked past and raced away into the darkness stretching to the left. The glass bubble of the mid-upper turret crouched upon its long, black back like a jockey on a massive charger. The flare path lights flashed off the Perspex of the rear turret.
A-Able’s nose lifted and seemed to drag the great bulk of the aircraft after it. It hung faintly silhouetted against the night sky. The wheels folded into the body, like a bird tucking in its feet. Abruptly the navigation lights darkened. The next aircraft, U-Uncle, turned onto the head of the runway.
Finally, a last example of a more domestic setting:
The WAAF officer was five feet four tall and weighed 120 lbs. She was 26 years old. She had dark eyes and hair, which she wore rolled into a hair net to keep it off her neck. She wore red lipstick and nail polish, although neither was allowed in the WAAF.
A moment later a WAAF officer walked into the
parlour, tearing off her cap and hair net in a single motion. She shook her head
to let her long dark hair fall lose. Georgina confronted a strikingly beautiful
young woman with a full but graceful figure and straight dark eyebrows over
large, dark eyes. Her lipstick was perfect, and her nail polish red. Georgina
thought she’d heard that WAAF weren’t supposed to wear either, but as this
young woman came across the room with her hand extended, Georgina sensed she
was the kind of woman used to privileges.
Next week I will explore the challenge of dialogue in a unique culture -- the RAF.
Riding the icy, moonlit sky— They took the war to Hitler.
Their chances of survival were less than fifty percent. Their average age was 21.
This is the story of just one Lancaster skipper, his crew,and the woman he loved.
It is intended as a tribute to them all.
Flying Officer Kit Moran has earned his pilot’s wings, but the greatest challenges still lie ahead: crewing up and returning to operations. Things aren’t made easier by the fact that while still a flight engineer, he was posted LMF (Lacking in Moral Fibre) for refusing to fly after a raid on Berlin that killed his best friend and skipper. Nor does it help that he is in love with his dead friend’s fiancé, who is not yet ready to become romantically involved again.