A brief rant.
This morning, I got this email from someone who is apparently farming out parts of his books to people with better description skills than he has:
You are the perfect person to help me. I’m writing a book about birding adventures that I had in 2011. One tense incident happened along the Rio Grande when armed cartel waded across the Rio Grande. To make a long story short, for the next forty-five minutes or so two helicopters (border patrol) circled overhead. Here is my question:
How would you accurately describe the sound these helicopters make?
For the record, I’ve never been birding along the Rio Grande while Border Patrol helicopters circled overhead for 45 minutes. How would I know what it sounds like?
Yet this guy was apparently there and can’t describe it. He figures that since I’m a helicopter pilot and a writer, I can describe it for him. So he sends me this email message.
Here’s a tip: if you can’t accurately describe something with words, you shouldn’t be a writer.
And yes, I addressed this in my blog back in 2009: “Writing Tips: Writing Accurate Descriptions.” If you do read that post, pay close attention to the first paragraph under the heading “Do Your Homework,” since it pretty much covers my thoughts on getting email messages like this one.