1. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    INFO

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by indy5live, Dec 19, 2012.

    How do you decide, when you're writing, how much info is enough info and how much info is too much or too little in terms of describing a setting or scene or character's appearance or background.

    For example, if I was writing about, say, religion, and my audience is a crowd of faith, should I not go into great detail about the religion and focus on the story or go ahead and describe what the reader already knows?

    Or, how about the reverse? What if I'm writing a Sci-Fi story about a planet far-far-away and it resembles nothing of our planet? Should I spend paragraph after paragraph covering these details or should I just leave a lot to the reader's imagination? Thanks.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Add what you consider the absolute minimum amount of information for the reader to understand your story. Then remove half of it.

    Always treat your audience as smarter than you are inclined to assume. Never write down to the lowest common denominator. Readers will rise to the challenge.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Ditto. I'd even go a bit further: Your audience, at least some of them, are smarter and more creative than you are. This is a great thing for a writer. I've said it before and I'll say it again: A writer's best tool is his reader's imagination. Never underestimate that. And don't over-describe; you might just be getting in the way of the reader imagining something much more marvelous than you are!
     
  4. Jon Deavers
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    Jon Deavers Member

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    Part of the fun of reading fiction (especially in a sci-fi setting) is deducing the mechanics of your world-building. It's a fine line since you have to provide enough info to tell the story coherently, but having your reader fill in the blanks opens up the work to broader interpretation. One of my favorite examples is Phillip K. Dick's "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" and his treatment of the artificial lifeforms. If he had explained their mechanics and the actual science behind the fiction it would have only gotten in the way of the story and restricted the reader's imagination, like Minstrel said above.
     
  5. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    So if my current story is 5,000 words shorter than I would have hoped (want to be at 80,000)...it's recommended that I don't go back and add additional description to the already existing manuscript but add an additional scene somewhere? Or more dialog? Don't write describe for description sake?
     
  6. Jon Deavers
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    Jon Deavers Member

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    Short answer: No way. Never write to a word count, in my opinion.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Add content, not decoration. Word counts are a reality in getting published, but resist the temptation to pad. Instead, add complications/setbacks.That also adds tension.

    Aim high with your word counts. That way, you won't shy away from trimming out the flab when you proofread and edit.
     

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