This past Saturday afternoon I met a man who spent six years taking a part in a renaissance fair. He studied under a master armorer and now makes exquisite pieces of armor himself. He even brought in a breast plate that he had made. This got me to thinking about the past several years.
I have always loved renaissance fairs. For a medieval fantasy writer like myself, they are inspiring. In my senior year of high school I enrolled in the AP English class at my school. One of our assignments was to write a descriptive scene. Instantly my mind was off in fantasy land. As I sifted through the menagerie of pictures I had saved to my computer over the past few years, I came across one in particular. You can find the picture below. Upon finding the image, I began to imagine what I might see, hear, smell, feel, and taste if I were in the picture. The following selection is the result.
Quietly Terra slipped through the wall of deep green foliage, always following that distant, sweet melody that rang in her ears. It was apparent that the instrument being played was some kind of flute, for it had an airy lilt to its sound.
Just then the young woman emerged from the dense forest and stepped out into a small clearing. The great, towering forest trees ringed this tiny open space, giving it a secure, homey feel. The early-morning sun painted everything around in a shimmering, golden glow. Butterflies danced about the dew-tipped flowers that grew in masses amidst the little haven, and brightly colored birds flitted about in search of seeds or some misfortunate insect with which to nourish themselves.
On the far side of the clearing ran a crystal clear brook, its glass-like waters tripping lightly over the polished stones that lay beneath. And there, perched cross-legged atop a flat boulder at the brook’s edge, was a little fairy.
She was no bigger than a small child, and in fact she very well may have been mistaken for one, save that she had wings. Her little feet were bare and smooth; her small, slender hands danced up and down the two pipes that composed her strange flute. Her wings shimmered like sheer mother-of-pearl, their edges dipped in the golden sunlight. She wore an airy outfit of mixed yellows and oranges, the fabric flowing about her like a fiery waterfall. Her hair was cut short and colored like cinnamon. A circlet of orange and yellow flowers rested atop her head.
For several moments Terra dared not move, for fear that the colorful visage before her would vanish with the morning mist. Then, at last, she slowly sank to the ground to sit and listen to the music. It was so mysterious, so wonderful: a lilting, airy melody that made her want to stand up and start dancing. It was hard to stay seated.
It seemed like time ceased to exist as the young woman sat listening to the fairy’s music, stroking the silky grass, and breathing in the sweet, fresh scents of the spring flowers that nestled at her feet.
Just then the music faded into two long, echoing notes, then drifted away all together. Terra tensed slightly. Please don’t go.
At that moment the fairy turned toward her one-person audience, her amber eyes sparkling with energy. She saw the human woman before her, yet she didn’t seem at all surprised. Her rosy pink lips tipped up into a laughing smile. Then she gave a bobbing bow and jumped off the boulder to the soft earth below, her bare, ivory feet lightly kissing its silken surface.
Yes, it is incomplete. I don’t know if I’ll ever finish the scene but I thought I’d share it anyway. The main point is that I used a picture to compose it. I have had friends who have had trouble writing descriptive scenes. My advice is: find a picture, write down what you think you might hear, see, smell, feel, and taste if you were in it, and start describing it. For people like me, who are incredibly visual, keeping a picture in my head helps me write. In fact, I have whole folders of pictures that I use when I write my stories. So, for those of you who are having trouble writing something, try finding a picture that will inspire you. The only other thing I have to say is good luck!