1. Siberith
    Offline

    Siberith Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0

    I'm either too broad or too summarization-like.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Siberith, Apr 2, 2011.

    When I write stories, its very hard for anyone to enjoy them because I either write to vague, and end up writing a story too short and bascially just sums up all the important things in it.

    Or.

    When I try to fix my sumarization-like writing I end up adding too much detail and it ends up making the story to long and irrelevant.

    Though when I try to self-review my piece I never take any of it out because of my summarization-like self thinks that its all important to the writing.

    Help?
     
  2. Youniquee
    Offline

    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    733
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Under your bed.
    I'm the same D: I write to vaguely.
    When you're writing with too much detail think about these things:
    If I describe this, will it help the readers imagine it more clearly? Is it something my character sees everyday? (If that is the case, I don't see the point of describing it thoroughly) Is it something general (eg, kitchen) that my readers should automatically imagine?

    When you're writing with no detail:
    -Add to descriptions if you think it will help the readers imagination.
    - Show more of your characters actions to show their personality.
    -Conflict. If there's conflict, the readers are going to have been shown the way the characters solve it.
    That's just my 2 pennies~
    I hope that helped :)
     
  3. nastyjman
    Offline

    nastyjman Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2010
    Messages:
    318
    Likes Received:
    138
    Location:
    NYC
    One thing I learned while reading about writing and reading other's stories is this:
    - verbs show your character's personality and state of being
    - adjectives show object's personality
    - adverbs summarizes character and object qualities

    If you think your writing is vague and incomprehensible, try using similes, metaphors and analogies.

    And if you write too much detail, you should deliberate whether detail is integral to the story. If it's not a big thing, cut it. Think of details like a zoom lens and time effects in movies.
     
  4. Invincible
    Offline

    Invincible Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    1
    If you can do both, then surely you could find a middle ground. Practice your writing style on random pieces. With the story out of the equation, you'll be able to focus on the writing aspect more.
     
  5. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,982
    Likes Received:
    5,501
    Do you have any specific examples?

    One piece of advice: When you're adding detail, think about what you want to communicate through those details, and use that to focus what you say.

    For example, imagine that Character A is searching Character B's purse. You could spend three paragraphs (or three pages) describing every item in the purse. But if you ask what you're trying to communicate, that can narrow what you describe.

    Maybe the purse is a silk-lined alligator bag with nothing but a hundred-dollar lipstick, the keys to the convertible, and a skinny wallet with a Neiman's card. Maybe it's a big multi-pocket Mom purse with everything from spare Band-Aids to hand sanitizer to party balloons to a stray baby sock. Maybe it's a college student's chaotic bag, full of class schedules and returned papers and gum wrappers and what _is_ that bottle of mixed pills and are they legal?

    Each specific item mentioned is intended to offer some clues to the personality and lifestyle of the bag's owner. I choose a very small number of items, ignoring everything else in the purse. These aren't great examples--they're all a little stereotypical--but do you see what I mean?

    ChickenFreak
     
  6. Finhorn
    Offline

    Finhorn Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Mesa, AZ
    Having not read your stuff, I'm going to take a shot in the dark. I think your problem is probably plot, not level of detail. In short stories Hemmingway is known for never using a verb on something not related to the plot, where Flannery O'Connor will describe the color of a 2D character's shirt.

    How much detail you add will both become natural and a mark of your personal style, given time and practice.

    My advice is not to be afraid of a long story. Just let it end where it ends. Next, take a big breath and read it. When you get to the end ask yourself, was that interesting? If the answer is "no," don't blame the level of detail, blame the plot.

    Go back and ask "Who's story is this anyway?" then "What's this story really about? / Why does the main character want us to have heard it?" Poe's "The Cask of Amentelado" answered these questions: Guilt's(Montresor), Revenge, Justification.

    Finally go back and rewrite. If it's essential to the story that we know Joe is depressed, (but he's not coming across as such) have him sitting in a dark kitchen sipping room temperature milk. Have him frown. Let the details work for the plot.

    Once you've done that two or three times, put it up here. We'll act as a fresh set of eyes and tell you "I didn't by Mary's joy at the carnival. I need more on that." Then you get to start all over again.

    PS - I accept that one probably cannot write the next great American novel with just those questions but I think it'll be a good place to start.
     
  7. Eunoia
    Offline

    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    Messages:
    4,395
    Likes Received:
    80
    Location:
    England
    I sometimes have this problem too.

    With the too much detail problem, I've learnt that sometimes it's because I repeat things a lot, for example 'She smiled. She was happy.' (I could probably come up with a better example, but yeah). These both say the same thing basically so are both needed?

    As for writing too vague, I suppose you do need to add a bit of detail. I sometimes write like this, as in I'm very observational, for example 'I saw an elderly woman fall down. A car rushed by. The elderly woman got up and walked away.' That could be part of a paragraph, but you don't get the reaction/response of the main character. How did they feel when the woman fell down? Did they want to help? etc. I suggest you read some Raymond Carver, he writes in a minimal style. So sometimes it's okay to be vague, just not too vague that the audience don't know what to imagine. I'm tired so this may not make sense. :p
     

Share This Page