Saturday, April 4, 2015

D is for Description

Now we are getting somewhere if we want to reference things I'm not good at and need to work on in rewrites and edits. Check out the other blogs at A to Z Blog Challenge to see what other people come up with for D and beyond. Now, time for my topic and it was an easy pick.


I do not write much in the way of description. I managed to write 165k in NaNoWriMo one year and the first draft ended at about 180k but there is very little description in the fantasy story. Yeah... Not sure what it is but I'm definitely more comfortable with things like dialogue and I can even throw in some action more than I can write a descriptive scene. Even with the novel I'm editing where I have done rewrites where I more than doubled the word count, I still need to add description in this final edits.

One issue, for me, is the use of the senses. I can admit that it's a weakness of mine, or at least some of the sentences in particular. Some are easier to add in a story, like visuals and depending certain situations a sound or touch. However, there are some that I struggle to add without it seeming forced. Taste is a tough one for me because unless the character is eating or there is a specific reason for them to suddenly think about what they are tasting in a moment, it's not something I just write in a scene. Same goes for smell at times. I know you don't need them all, all of the time, but I do know it's something that I need to work on still. I am trying in this edit to make sure that some of the senses are used on a regular basis to really bring the story more to life for the reader.

Giving specific details is a challenge at times. There is a thick line between too much detail and not enough and we want to try of the time to be on that line. Some detail helps create the world and show things to the reader. Too much description and details, however, will take the reader out of the story or just plain bore them. Some readers skip parts more than others but if anyone is going to skip a section of story it is often said they skip the overly descriptive parts because they seem boring and not as vital to the story overall.

So, I'm going to work on description in my edits and in future rewrite/edits of other novels.

Here are some links to check out on descriptive writing:

How are you at description? Do you need to cut or add description in rewrites or edits?


Cortney Pearson said...

It's definitely hard to find a balance with description, saying just enough without overdoing it! It's so important and vital to a story!

Susan Kane said...

I find writing description with carefully chosen words, few as possible, to allow the reader to build from that.

Anonymous said...

WOW! 165k in Nano???
That's amazing. The past 2 years I've barely made it with just over 50k.
Loved the blog!

Sarah Allan said...

Sensory description is definitely good to have in a story, and something that I have to remind mself to use as well. It makes for a much better reading experience. Happy A-Zing!

Elizabeth Mueller said...

I ask myself these two questions whenever I write anything:

Does it deepen the character? Does it move the story forward?

Sometimes a single word here and there in a sentence that describes something is enough. You could appeal to the senses and use other areas to get the idea across:

Internalization, dialogue, and action. IE:

He sat careful upon the seat and winced when his skin came in contact. "Why does the teacher make us sit here? Doesn't he know how the sun burns straight through these folding chairs?" He swore under his breath, promising to wear thicker jeans and shirt next time.

What do you think? xD

Elizabeth Mueller
AtoZ 2015
My Little Pony

Carrie-Anne said...

One of the reasons I have such a hard time with 19th century U.S. and British literature is because of the overflow of descriptions! I like some description for worldbuilding and setting the scene, but having 5+ paragraphs, regularly, to describe clothes, rooms, the ritual of smoking a pipe, a flower garden, and houses doesn't really advance the plot, or even establish characters.