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message 1: by Bets (new)

Bets (betsdavies) | 85 comments My feelings on description have become less is more. I used to go wild with it in my own writing, but I've been cutting over the years. A few lines of description at the most means you trust your writer and yourself for the concepts to be portrayed.

I do like using lines of description or action instead of traditional tags. Showing someone shoving a hand through their hair can convey annoyance so much more than: "He said with irritation."


message 2: by Haley (new)

Haley | 46 comments I'm somewhere in the middle. I don't like too much description- I feel it slows down the flow of the novel at times. But not enough is just as annoying. Description helps us connect to the characters and the story better. I am annoyed at times when the author gives as small amount of description as possible. How do the characters feel??? I want to know, but the author won't tell me.


message 3: by J.L. (new)

J.L. Murphey (JLMurphey) | 27 comments Description are like using salt when cooking. A little bit goes a long way. It is better to use more powerful words to enforce your descriptions creating the image you want to portray without bogging down the reader.

What does the reader NEED to know right now? Does the reader NEED to know all the furnishings in the room or just the general ambiance and what character is doing?

My thoughts are a couple of lines sprinkled here and there of description for flavor and move on with the story.

Showing versus telling and interior thoughts are different. Interior thought help draw the reader into relating to the character and feel what they are feeling.


message 4: by Horcruxiatus (new)

Horcruxiatus (ATeam) | 6 comments CicadaGrrl wrote: "My feelings on description have become less is more. I used to go wild with it in my own writing, but I've been cutting over the years. A few lines of description at the most means you trust your..."

I get what you mean, actions can portray more realism than just saying whats happened. Online I hear "Show, don't tell" alot.


message 5: by Irene (new)

Irene (wingdesilverii) | 2500 comments Show meaning describe that your reader is upset, don't just tell that he/she is.


message 6: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey II (jzweigii) | 5 comments Descriptions, in my mind, are like telling a minurature story. When entering a room, for instance,
I like to cover these three bases:
1. structure of the room
2. style/condition of the room and its furnishings
3. what poeple are doing (if there are people there)

I try to keep each of these contained to one or two sentinces depending on how critical the scene is to advancing the story.


message 7: by Isaac (new)

Isaac Jeff wrote: "Descriptions, in my mind, are like telling a minurature story. When entering a room, for instance,
I like to cover these three bases:
1. structure of the room
2. style/condition of the room and ..."


I might use that outline.


message 8: by Sarah (last edited Mar 08, 2012 02:27AM) (new)

Sarah Weldon (sarahrweldon-author) | 6045 comments They tell us keep descriptives on a need to know basis, my editor tells me don't overstate the obvious, show don't tell and then I pick a Sydney Sheldon novel up to read and it all goes out the window!

He uses tons of description, overstates the obvious and if he was showing me anything it was how to confuse the reader completely. The end left me in mid air because although it appeared to have solved some of the puzzle I failed to see how he could have been upset by the hand delivered message telling him of the death of Sam Roffe if I were to take it that he was the guilty party!

It had the intrigue, it had murders, it had lots of red herrings and false trails an all too obvious romantic interlude but the sex was barely descriptive! All in all a bit of a disappointment.

Confused!!! Very, but the book was first printed way back in 1974, as my daughter would call them 'the olden days', practically BC.


message 9: by Irene (new)

Irene (wingdesilverii) | 2500 comments Sarah R wrote: "They tell us keep descriptives on a need to know basis, my editor tells me don't overstate the obvious, show don't tell and then I pick a Sydney Sheldon novel up to read and it all goes out the win..."

Right, and I think it is easier to not overstate things if you show not tell, but that's just me.


message 10: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Weldon (sarahrweldon-author) | 6045 comments Irene wrote: "Sarah R wrote: "They tell us keep descriptives on a need to know basis, my editor tells me don't overstate the obvious, show don't tell and then I pick a Sydney Sheldon novel up to read and it all ..."

My editor said let the reader work she shrugged, or she nodded was sufficient - it just goes to show how writing has evolved since Sydney Sheldon wrote Bloodline!


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