1. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    Different sort of problem...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Kratos, Sep 19, 2008.

    A lot of writers seem to have "problems" with writing too much: they elaborate and drag on and are left with a collosal amount of work on which to edit. I find that I have the opposite problem. As a person, and as a writer, I don't really get into details. I say what has to be said, and move on. I've tried adding description, but I'm sure where to fit it in. I'm sure that most are you are going to say that length doesn't matter, but I just wanted to know how to make my writing a bit longer and cover more.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    Perhaps you can start with certain parts and elaborate only those parts. For example, first add embroidery only to the settings in your book. Once setting is done, move on to your characters. Repeat as needed with other parts of the book.

    Sometimes its hard to imagine how to bulk up an entire book, but if you can bulk up a little bit at a time it may become more manageable.
     
  3. Kylie
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    Kylie Contributing Member

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    Description is supposed to help the reader get more of a sense what's going on. So look through your book, which scenes need some 'description' that will help the reader know what's going on? Work on those first. I think the more you do it the more natural it will become for you.
    I hope this makes sense.
     
  4. Becca D
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    Becca D Member

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    You should also keep in mind that you may not need extra descriptions - if your style tends to the short and sweet (and less description fits the genre you're writing in), then maybe it's not a bad thing to practice developing your style the way it is.
    Of course, it's always good to practice other writing styles because it will only help you get better. But ultimately, you might find that your own unique voice is in to-the-point writing. :)
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    compare a few pages of what you wrote to pages in books of a similar genre by 3-6 of the best writers [doesn't necessarily = the most popular ones] and you should be able to see what's missing in your work...
     
  6. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I get really bored by books that focus on a lot of description. I don't know what genre you like to write; but a friend of mine writes military sci-fi, and when he describes something, it has a lot of purpose to it. For instance, the soldier's entered the basement of a building, and he gives the reader a sense of what the soldier is seeing there. But I like that he doesn't overdo the description; he gives just enough, but then I get to use my imagination to finish off the view.

    So, my opinion is to not get too worried about it, but give just enough details as your characters are experiencing something so that the readers can get a feeling/sense of what the characters are experiencing too.
     
  7. TheAdlerian
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    TheAdlerian Senior Member

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    There's not enough there when the reader doesn't know who is saying what, why they're saying it, and where all of this is taking place, or any one of those.

    You have to ask yourself if you're vague in any of these areas. If you are, will your readers get board?
     
  8. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Kratos you could try this, it might help. I am rewriting some of my short stories now trying to keep all this in mind.

    Pretend you are the camera filming a movie. Write the best sentences possible to spark to life what the camera sees. I notice when I lose sight of doing this while writing, I tend to not paint that good of a picture in the mind of whoever reads my story.

    I think about what do I see when I imagine this scene, and what do I want them to see in their mind. The easiest way for me to do this is to pretend I am filming a movie.

    I also want to bring my scene to life with more than visual ques, such as, her red dress ruffled as she strode into the office. I also want to add some life here and there by describing the scene with other senses. The intoxicating smell of vanilla perfume swept the room as she entered. The room grew silent, and he heard nothing but the sound of her voice, "Is this seat taken?"

    As he walked he let his fingers drag along the ruff stone. I try to remember to use as many senses as possible to bring the scene to life. I also try to stick to action instead of dry detailing of the scene. I try to paint the picture in the mind of the reader using action.

    The last thing I try to remember to do is to bring the scene to life emotionally by sharing the emotions of my characters, through dialog, their thoughts, and actions.

    If you do all this you should have no problem with length. Let me see if I can pull those sentences I just made up together.
    As she strode into the office, her red dress ruffled. Her fingers glided across the smooth oak-wood table, as she approached Jim. Standing close enough now, he could smell her intoxicating vanilla perfume. Sweat prickled his forehead when he saw her hand stretch toward him. His heart pounded so hard he thought it would plop right out of his chest, and land on the table in front of him. The room grew silent, and all he could hear was his heart beating.

    She stood next to him now. With her other hand she brushed her silky smooth blonde hair away from her face.

    "Mind if I borrow this?" She asked, and grabbed a pen setting in front of Jim.

    He swallowed hard. "No uh--that's fine."

    I managed to use 4 of the 5 senses in describing this scene through action. Taste is a hard one, and I rarely use it. I guess I could have said he tasted his spit, but that is stupid.

    Sorry for the lengthy post, and I hope it helps, even though the quick example I threw together is not the best.
     
  9. kehl
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    kehl Member

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    I write the same; only as much description as necessary. Personally, I don't enjoy books that focus too much on every little detail. It leaves nothing to the imagination and leaves my mind wondering about the laundry I need to do etc.... You should give us a sample of your writing so we can get a good example of what you consider descriptive.
     
  10. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    First you tell me what I need to know. If you do not do this, I am left confused and become lost, once this happens I stop reading and my interest is destroyed.

    Then you can tell me what I would enjoy knowing. This is bits of info that might be good that I know, or might open up bits of insight to me to get a better feeling or feel for what you are saying.

    As long as you do the First thing, anything beyond that is just bonus.
     
  11. Blossom
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    Blossom New Member

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    Drawing a line between too little descriptiona and too much description can be hard. I tend to think I've done too little, beef it up, then reread it later and decide I need to cut it down a bit. Particularly as a minimalist writer, you need to carefully consider what needs to be said from your point of view, and what needs to be said from the reader's point of view. They might be two entirely different things.

    I would start by getting a friend or family member, an impartial reader, to have a look and tell you their impression of reading it first time. So then you have a sense of how a reader would think.

    If you're wanting to add in description then read over it yourself as well, but I would leave it alone for a week or so first so that it's all fresh when I'm reading it - you'll probably spot mistakes and things you might want to change anyway (I always do).

    For the description itself, I try to think of where my characters are. What setting they're in, what action is taking place, what the point of the scene is - what's important. When I describe something, I try to do it from the POV of the characters, thinking about how they'd react to stimuli from their senses.

    For instance, say my character, let's call her Emily, walks into her friend's living room. There are two ways of describing it - giving a general sense of what's there, or showing it through Emily's senses.

    1) A general sense:
    Emily walked into the living room behind Jane and stood for a moment, looking around. The room was rectangular in shape, the walls painted green and the carpet patterned in matching green and purple. A three-piece suite was positioned around a low, wooden coffee table, on which was sat a vase of blue freesias. Jane's television sat snug in the corner where it could be viewed from any seat. Archways in the far wall lead into the dining room and kitchen.

    A nice description, the reader knows where everything is and they can continue on happily into the dialogue/action between Emily and Jane without getting confused (hopefully). Alternatively, there's:

    2)Exploring the character's senses:
    Emily followed Jane into the living room and leant against the wall while she looked around. The paint was a pale apple green, cool and smooth against her back, and her toes dug into the soft, patterned carpet; it felt like feathers tickling the soles of Emily's feet. The room was sizable rectangle, in the centre a three-piece suite positioned around a low, wooden coffee table, and the television sitting snug in a corner. Emily moved away from the wall and towards one of the seats. They were made of cream leather than stretched and creaked when she sat down. A vase of blue freesias was sat on the coffee table in front of her, and from it Emily caught a hint of the sweet, flowery scent that always hung around Jane.

    The reader's getting the same information, but see how the character reacts to it. It's a larger chunk of text too, because different senses will react to different stimuli.

    It might not work for you, but it's always something you can play around and experiment with.

    Hope I helped!
     

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