For reasons of nerdliness I was on the hunt for old renaissance style pictures this morning and came across this bizarre representation of an elephant. I was disturbed and amused at the same time. And then I thought, "You write sci-fi, Wrey, have you never described something in a way that didn't come across well to the reader, that didn't really represent what you meant?" You know it's an elephant because you are familiar with the real thing and the errors are blindingly apparent. The trunk coming out from the mouth in a Geiger-esque manner is utterly wrong. There are nostrils where one expects nostrils in other mammals. The ears are more piscine than mammalian. The tusks are porcine. The eyes are drawn with a human iris and are in the wrong place. But the question is, did the artist draw what the artist was told by the explorer recently returned from the wilds of Africa? In the case of my question, the artist is the reader and the recently returned explorer is you, the writer. We can argue back and forth about over-exposition or under-describing, but regardless of which camp you hold to your bosom, is your description effective in conveying to the reader what you had in your mind's eye? Do you read back over your work, close your eyes and try to imagine what your reader will picture from your words? Discuss.