A relatively minor point that cropped up in a manuscript I was recently critiquing inspired today’s posting.
The writer described a sound as being a ‘huge bang’, and this is a fairly common thing to see: ‘loud sound’, ‘massive object’, ‘unusual event’ etc.
More experienced writers will realise the problem here: ‘huge bang’ is just too vague; no image leaps into the mind because there’s not enough to go on. A bomb going off is a huge bang, but so is a little balloon being burst next to one’s ear. How big is huge? Heavyweight boxers are huge, but so are cathedrals, so are mountains. I’ve seen huge spiders!
In this case the writer did actually provide the solution himself immediately afterwards by providing a simile, and for me this is the way to go (assuming the redundant ‘huge bang’ is then edited out). If you say your hero heard a sound like distant thunder, like a shotgun being fired, then you are giving the reader an image, a means of making a comparison or putting something into context.
I’m signing off now because I’ve just seen an amazing sight and I want to go and investigate…