1. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Bare bones or Over descriptive - which writer are you?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by peachalulu, Aug 24, 2013.

    Just wanted to know which kind of writer you are first draft out - the one that goes on and on knowing things will be chopped or completely bare bones on to the next scene with the hopes of fleshing it out in the second draft. Apologies if this has already been asked.

    I'm sort of in-between. Some things will be totally sparse - especially conversations where I have to go back and fill in gestures, other's will be a little description heavy like scenery as I'm trying to feel out a metaphor or scene dirrection.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm bare-bones then flesh it out. In a fractal sense, my whole writing process is that way. I have an idea of something I want to talk about and from that scaffolding I start building the plot, the acts, and creating the people who move that plot.
     
  3. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Definitely bare bones. In fact, I struggle getting things fleshed out as I have the image in my head but can't find the words to describe it well enough, so it usually ends up being only a little awesome. :(
     
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  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I struggle quite a bit with putting the things in my head into the story. I know so much more about my characters and setting than the reader. After the third or fourth edit my writing gets a lot better. I put down the frame then look at what needs coloring in.
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm bare-bones too. I start small and flesh things out in the next drafts. The only exception is dialogue passages, which tend to run long in my first drafts, so I trim them later on.

    The part I most have to flesh out is usually the climax. I always start slow, it seems, then I go faster and faster until I'm really rushing the climax. Sometimes the climax, the whole crux of the story, goes by in a few lines! When that happens, I really have to work in the second drafts to make sure the climax is given the space and attention it requires.
     
  6. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I aim to write every chapter to my satisfaction. I don't go on unnecessarily nor do I skip over. I work to a synopsis so by the time I sit down, I already had time to consider my scene. I'll re-work scenes and chapters until I'm happy with them.

    I might flag up a problematic part that I need to sort out, because at some point I have to move on, but most of the first draft is ok. That's not to say that there isn't plenty to work on before finishing, but my first drafts are always cohesive and pretty close to the final product.
     
  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm afraid I'm a dreadful over-writer. And then, during the first edit, I add even more! Eventually, after the behemoth sits a while and I've forgotten what I wrote, I go back. Then I'm able to go through it all like a dose of salts, and cut the fluff and melodrama OUT. When I try to write a story 'sparse' it doesn't work; I can't seem to put any life into it. So I just pack it all in, then lighten the suitcase later on!
     
  8. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    Over descriptive -it drives me nuts to read a book and then get surprised by something that could have easilly been slipped in earlier. Thus i end up putting in a few things too many which i COULD introduce later, but don't want to at that time.
     
  9. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm both, depending on what I write. E,g, this morning I knew the information I wanted to be revealed in the scene I was writing, so I just wrote it in bare bones dialogue, no tags, no beats, just line after line. I know I will have to go back to flesh it out and tweak the dialogue. But that's pretty rare. Usually I over-write, it's particularly easy when you write with a partner, so we just throw in everything and then later go back, see what works, what doesn't, what's redundant, and do some serious sculpting.
     
  10. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess I'm a healthy diet writer - I try to put in as much as is needed so the reader wants to stay with me, and then I move on to the next part. So, no bare bones, no having to cut the fat.
     
  11. Smitty91
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    Smitty91 Member

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    It's generally considered bad writing when you get description-heavy when describing a scene. The general rule is to just describe enough to give us, the readers, a general picture in our minds, and then move on. I used to be one of those writers who went on and on about the scenery and a character's inner thoughts and whatnot. I have found that the latter, simply fleshing out the scenes before moving onto the next, helps the flow of the story immensely.
     
  12. EllBeEss
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    EllBeEss Contributing Member

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    I'm definitely bare bones but not too bad about it. My conversations run long enough with tags and everything as necessary but the scene is only described a little bit. If I'm writing a piece I'm excited about it will be very bare bones until I semi lose interest in the plot at which point I'll flesh it out.
     
  13. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    I'm kind of mixed; I write like I talk, thrifty with my words. I do seem to drop in technical terminology that goes over some people's heads, but again, like I talk. What I find mundane (which others may not), I write mundanely. What I find interesting or important (which others usually don't), I can't stop with the descriptions.
     
  14. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    I find I vary somewhat, but I tend to overwriting then underwriting.
     
  15. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    I have no idea what kind of writer I am at the moment. And most of the time I try not to define myself, because to me doing so makes it seem as if I'm a statue, finished and complete, when in reality, I'm a constant work in progress.

    I am, however, aware of certain tendencies of mine, which are: I tend to over-write the shit out of everything, and I also tend to omit too much information.

    Rarely do I find a balance, but such is life. One of these days I'm confident I'll land somewhere in the middle, at least once.
     
  16. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    K.I.S.S. bare bones, whatever you call it. From my POV, I needn't bore the reader with a page long description of the room before I get into the fierce gunfight that's going on in said room.
     
  17. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    It depends on the sort of story I'm writing.

    I like simplicity. Short and sweet works best for the majority of what I write. It's not that I think that sticking to the bare bones is best; it's just that sometimes a harsher, more blunt tone is more efficient than pretty words. I find that in some stories it bogs down the story too much and takes away from the point of the scene. If I feel it's too thin to properly convey the image I'm going for then I'll beef it up in the second draft.

    With other stories I'll go into more depth with description in the first draft. I'm currently planning out an FxF romance novella that will need to rely more on heavy description, rather than the minimalistic style I've used in my most recent stories, to carry off the scenes as intended.
     
  18. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    For me it depends on the story as well. I write in a variety of styles, from lean to more descriptive, depending on the atmosphere, tone, or pace I want to create for the story and how I feel it will be best accomplished.
     
  19. Lone Wanderer
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    Lone Wanderer Member

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    I used to be crazy about description and my stories ended up sounding like a history book about my universe rather than a piece of narrative.
     
  20. Motley
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    Motley Active Member

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    Neither, although my first drafts do tend to be a bit shorter than the finished product. I wouldn't describe them as bare bones, however, and I never gloss over the story in a rush to get something down and on to the next chapter.
     
  21. criticalsexualmass
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    criticalsexualmass Active Member

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    I write what i think is bare bones. Then at the end i put a bunch of notes for things i think i left out. After a while i go back and read the rough draft and discover that there's a lot of fat still on that pig. My editing sessions are brutal-i'll cut as much as half a scene, then re-write it. End product is always longer than the rough draft though.
     
  22. hippocampus
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    hippocampus Active Member

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    Most definitely bare bones. In fact, I'm at the point now where I need to seriously fluff up my novel. I really only have about one third of the words I need for a first-time, commercial fiction novel. But it's essentially done story-wise.

    I sometimes think it would be easier to be a verbose person and have to cut rather than add more words in!

    I still need to add a lot of description and "soul" but I don't think that will end up being enough. I have had to come up with few extra storylines. I'm just worried that by doing so I'm adding a lot of empty calories, so to speak.
     
  23. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    It really depends on my mood.

    Sometimes I find I need to embellish, sometimes I need to trim away the fat, but that's okay. Just as some scenes as good as write themselves, others require hard work. If I'm labouring and not feeling it, I leave the text in its bare bone state and return to it later. It's not unusual to revisit a scene and realise that I have been spoon feeding my reader details that aren't truly warranted and add nothing to the story, or that I've gone the opposite direction causing confusion by not properly setting the scene. I don't want to bog the reader down or leave them out of the loop.

    Although it would be nice if a first draft needed little work, I can't help but feel that constantly having to question what is too much and what is not enough is beneficial to me at this point. I'm still feeling my way.
     
  24. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I have to respectfully disagree. If you wrote far too many words, how would you know what to cut? Of course some things you'd know, but others would simply have to be a part of your universe and world, and so it would be difficult to know what to cut, at least for me.

    No, I'd rather add words. Think of the joy when you see that you're 5000 words off and you think, "Mm, more of my universe to write!" ;)
     
  25. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Another bare bones-er over here (I was going to say bare boner, but that didn't seem quite right ;)). I start small and then expand on what I've written so far. However, I do tend to cut out material when I edit.
     

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