Yikes. Haven’t been updating as often as I should be. 🙁 But don’t worry; I will try harder!
At any rate, this is a topic that I’ve mentioned once or twice but haven’t really explained thoroughly. Basically, you need to weave your descriptions throughout the story instead of dumping them here and there in huge chunks. It relates to the whole “show, don’t tell” thing. You need to know when to show and when to tell, but you also need to know how to weave your descriptions. Here are a few ways to do this:
1) Instead of simply describing the setting, let your character(s) interact with it.
2) Use more indirect characterization than direct characterization. Instead of telling us that your character is “fat” show us through his actions- “he could barely fit through the doorway.”
3) Make the descriptions relevant to the plot. If a character has dark skin and dark hair, maybe that camouflages him and lets him hide from the enemy.
Each of these tips is trying to help you avoid the same thing- huge paragraphs of description that intimidate- or worse, bore- the reader. I am an avid reader and like to appreciate the descriptions in a novel, especially if they’re written with an amazing voice and style. But even I get tired of reading enormous chunks of description that are only there to show off the author’s language and don’t advance the plot at all. Descriptions are nice, but the story is more important. Move it along!
What truly impresses me is when an author can write a book in which the reader can picture everything happening but doesn’t have to suffer long pages of description to do it. Oftentimes an author will repeat descriptions of the same setting to impress his/her point. But the reader doesn’t need the point impressed. The reader is thinking, “I know the dungeon is dark and scary. You said it already, and you made it clear by the characters’ reactions. You don’t need to keep describing it!”
What you should get from this post: Huge paragraphs of description are bad, especially if they make you sound like a showoff. Weave descriptions throughout the story so the reader doesn’t have to suffer. Oh, and give your readers some credit. They’re not dumb. You don’t have to keep describing the same thing over and over again. 😉
One more thing- Happy Independence Day! 😀
7 thoughts on “Descriptions and Details”
Thanks for the great tips! They are really helpful and they make total sense!
I’m not sure that I agree 100% with your blog entry, but I did find it somewhat interesting.
You are so cool! I don’t think I’ve read through anything like this before.
So wonderful to discover someone with a few genuine thoughts
on this subject matter. Seriously.. thanks for starting
this up. This site is one thing that’s needed on the web,
someone with a bit of originality!
I’m really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog.
Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?
Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to
see a great blog like this one these days.
First of all I would like to say superb blog!
I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your
mind before writing. I’ve had a tough time clearing my mind in getting
my thoughts out there. I truly do enjoy writing however it
just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions
or hints? Kudos!
Good post! We will be linking to this great
post on our website. Keep up the great writing.
Comments are closed.