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Off Topic > Over-use of descriptive prose

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message 1: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Have you ever started reading a book/short story that has so much descriptive prose that it kills the book?

I'm finishing Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery right now. It's an anthology that I was very excited about, but I've found myself having to push to finish it. I often find myself pulled out of the story because of paragraphs like this:

"The visitant towered before them. Lifted ragged hands of smoke, and drew back the hood. What she uncowled -within an undulant mane of tendriling black smoke - was a globe of eyes, eyes only and uncountable, for each eye focused on resolved into a globular cluster of eyes more myriad, and each of these distinctly brimming with memories and meaning..."

Reading this paragraph made me want to toss the book across the room...but I didn't want to break my Kobo. :)

What books/authors do you think over use descriptive prose?


message 2: by Brad (new)

Brad (bradjessup) | 22 comments I might get lynched for this but when I first read Lord of the Rings I thought Tolkien was over-using description. There is even a 20 page prologue describing hobbits!

But now, after reading hundreds of ho-hum knockoffs, I appreciate the highly detailed world he created.


message 3: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Brad wrote: "I might get lynched for this but when I first read Lord of the Rings I thought Tolkien was over-using description. There is even a 20 page prologue describing hobbits!

But now, after reading hundr..."


Yeah, I know how you feel. I had the same problem with The Silmarillion, so it's still still on a shelf. Have you read it?


message 4: by Christine (new)

Christine I've heard that said a lot about Lord of the Rings and frankly has kept me from reading it. I know, how can I say I am a fantasy aficionado if I have never read LOTR, but my excuse is I am a newbie to the genre.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. LOL


message 5: by Brad (new)

Brad (bradjessup) | 22 comments MrsJoseph wrote: "Yeah, I know how you feel. I had the same problem with The Silmarillion, so it's still still on a shelf. Have you read it? ..."

No, I haven't read the Silmarillion. I got the feeling it would be similar to the appendices of Lord of the Rings which I didn't care for. They felt too much like a dry, dusty history lesson.


message 6: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Christine wrote: "I've heard that said a lot about Lord of the Rings and frankly has kept me from reading it. I know, how can I say I am a fantasy aficionado if I have never read LOTR, but my excuse is I am a newbi..."

LOL! Others may disagree with me, but I started with The Hobbit: Or There and Back Again so I didn't have as big of an issue as other people I know who have read it. Maybe starting there would help?


message 7: by Christine (new)

Christine I have read The Hobbit a couple of times. Just dragging my feet with Lord of the Rings. I will get to it....maybe?


message 8: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Christine wrote: "I have read The Hobbit a couple of times. Just dragging my feet with Lord of the Rings. I will get to it....maybe?"

LOL! Take your time, I'm the one who's never finished A Game of Thrones... :-)


message 9: by Christine (new)

Christine You can read Lord of the Rings and not A Game of Thrones?????

What do you like about Lord of the Rings? What don't you like about Thrones?

I loved A Game of Thrones and The Clash of Kings. About ready to start on the 3rd one.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Lmao...apparently we're all gonna have this reaction to you Mrs. Joseph ;)


message 11: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (last edited Jan 17, 2011 02:08PM) (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments lol! I found A Game of Thrones to be depressing and boring. I DNF it multiple times but everyone keeps telling me how great it is. I started reading A Game of Thrones after forcing myself to read all 10 books in The Great Book of Amber straight. I found Amber to be boring, so why force myself to be bored (and depressed) again?


message 12: by Christine (new)

Christine You must be a glutton for punishment to suffer through 10 books that you found boring. If I don't like a book after 50 pages, I move on. There's too many good ones out there to read something you don't like. And with that being said, I won't give you too much grief over not like A Game of Thrones. LOL.


message 13: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Christine wrote: "You must be a glutton for punishment to suffer through 10 books that you found boring. If I don't like a book after 50 pages, I move on. There's too many good ones out there to read something you..."

I kept waiting for it to get better. I was wrong, lol.


message 14: by Christine (new)

Christine We are ever hopeful when it comes to our books!


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) Oh my goodness, that kind of writing really puts me to sleep. I love beautiful and descriptive writing, but it can be over-used, and it makes for a very tiresome read! In general, I prefer concise but evocative writing.


message 16: by Jason (new)

Jason (darkfiction) | 3204 comments I agree with that wholeheartedly, Lady Danielle. I hate it when it takes two pages just to describe a character's clothes and how good they look wearing them, or a sunset, or something.

I find that a paragraph or two is usually good enough for decent, even poetic descriptions.


message 17: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Agreed! I loved Kushiel's Dart but I felt she spent too much time describing how beautiful Phedre is.


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) LOL, MrsJoseph! The names killed me and all the ceremony stuff was hard to take at times too.


message 19: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "LOL, MrsJoseph! The names killed me and all the ceremony stuff was hard to take at times too."

I know what you mean. Sometimes I felt like screaming, "I get it already! Move On!" :) But when it started getting good, it was very good :)

I think Carey just has that issue with book 1 of any series. I read the next three, too. Kushiel's Scion is ok but the following two are a lot better.


message 20: by Jason (new)

Jason (darkfiction) | 3204 comments My mind just shuts off with all that kind of discription and I have a heck of a time paying attention.


message 21: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments lol!


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) Same here, Jason!


message 23: by Christine (new)

Christine I start skimming when there is too much description and then I miss an important plot point and have to go back and then I get really frustrated. I wonder where was the editor for this book.


message 24: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Christine wrote: "I start skimming when there is too much description and then I miss an important plot point and have to go back and then I get really frustrated. I wonder where was the editor for this book."

I do that, too. I was very surprised because this anthology was edited by Lou Anders and Jonathan Strahan. The forward was excellent.


message 25: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Cotterill (rachelcotterill) I don't mind description if it's vivid and - preferably - multi-sensory, but I know what you mean, it can go on too long! I certainly have a preference for lots of plot & action, personally, which leaves less space for extraneous description :)

Rachel


message 26: by Amanda (new)

Amanda M. Lyons (amandamlyons) You know sometimes its a matter of whether or not they use a really stupid line to refer to what's going on like in the steamier scenes. I remember one books comparing the character's cough cough to a baby fist holding an apple....ewwwww


message 27: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Amanda wrote: "You know sometimes its a matter of whether or not they use a really stupid line to refer to what's going on like in the steamier scenes. I remember one books comparing the character's cough cough t..."

ewwwwweeeeewwwwwww!


message 28: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Cotterill (rachelcotterill) What MrsJoseph said - just ewww!


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) I prefer action-oriented books, but I do love a writer who is able to write beautifully.


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) Hmm. We had a discussion about that preoccupation of some steamy romance writers for the over-endowed hero on another group.


message 31: by Jason (new)

Jason (darkfiction) | 3204 comments Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "I prefer action-oriented books, but I do love a writer who is able to write beautifully."

I agree. If the writer can seduce me with their writing, I really don't care how many extra they use to describe something.


message 32: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Jason wrote: I agree. If the writer can seduce me with their writing, I really don't care how many extra they use to describe something."


Me, too.


message 34: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 857 comments No one has bored me to death as Stephen King's pos-accident books. Black House, Gerald's Game and Insomnia come to mind. I felt like I was reading a different author. I've tried a few times with him and it was always the same; longwinded utterly boring crap. Now I won't even read him at all and he used to be my favorite author. It's very disappointing.


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) That is very sad, Jackie. It's like losing a limb, cutting loose a beloved author.


message 36: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 857 comments It is. But what's worst is I'm angry at him. I know it's unreasonable yet I can't help how I feel.


message 37: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (last edited Feb 02, 2011 10:47AM) (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments That's how I felt with Godslayer! Horrible horrible horrible, total DNF. I never picked up her next three because of that.


message 38: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 857 comments DNF?

One bad book will turn me off a new author for sure.


message 39: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Did not finish. :)


message 40: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 857 comments Thank you. Once I see what the letters mean, it seems so obvious.


message 41: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments :) I read a lot about reading, too. I got it from MobileRead (I think)


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) Jackie, I admit I am still angry at LKH for turning the Anita Blake books into a sex-fest.


message 43: by Amanda (new)

Amanda M. Lyons (amandamlyons) I know! I'd even suggest the first book for a monthly read if it wasn't for where the books eventually go.


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) Well, I guess we could start and give some readers the opt out option. :)


message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

No way would I start a series that I knew turned to crap. That's torture in my mind...falling in love with a series only to be let down. I regret ever reading The Sword of Truth series for precisely that reason.


 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) I understand, Grant. I usually warn people who don't like the sex-driven plot ahead of time.


message 47: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 02, 2011 06:52PM) (new)

Empress by Kate Miller is a total DNF for me. I Despised it and couldn't pick up the rest of the series. Total turnoff


message 48: by MrsJoseph *grouchy*, *good karma* (last edited Feb 03, 2011 09:14AM) (new)

MrsJoseph *grouchy* (mrsjoseph) | 7282 comments Grant wrote: "Empress by Kate Miller is a total DNF for me. I Despised it and couldn't pick up the rest of the series. Total turnoff"

Thank you!!!!! I was going to pick that up but something made me stop. Our tastes are quite similar - though you seem more hard core than I - so if YOU DNF'ed it... huh.

I read the reviews for Empress and the sequel and it seems to get worse. I really can't do completely unlikeable primary characters.


message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

Same here. Lol I've thought before that we had similar taste but that you were a bit of a softy ;) I feel the same way about unlikeable primary characters. I like to root for someone or even better to genuinely care.


message 50: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 857 comments Grant, at which point does The Sword of Truth devolve? I only have the first of the series and haven't read it yet. I was planning on buying them all, or the first few at least. You're not the only person who's said SoT gets bad. How far do you suggest I go in purchasing the sequels?


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