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[Detail] Warehouse, Manzanar Relocation Center

Writing: Detail

One technique that writers employ to make their stories powerful and vibrant is the use of detail. Detail can help readers to visualize a story. It also makes writing more interesting and authentic.

Read a short story and make note of passages that include a lot of detail. Select one or more of these passages and analyze the use of detail with the following questions:

  • What does the detail add to this passage? How does it affect you as a reader?
  • What would this passage be like without the detail?
  • What role does this passage play? Does it contribute to the plot, develop a character, create symbolism, or describe a setting?
  • How does the detail relate to the role of the passage?

Practice using detail by writing a brief description of one of Adams's photographs of Manzanar. Browse the Subject Index for images with a lot of visual detail.