1. jayroebuck
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    jayroebuck Member

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    "Too" Descriptive writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jayroebuck, Dec 8, 2009.

    Hello everyone, I recently wrote a short story and asked a very studious friend of mine read it and give me some feedback. I particularly wanted to know whether dialogue flowed or not. Instead he responded with, "this is far too descriptive". Hmmm
    I admit that my style of writing mirrors my preferred style of reading. I enjoy stories that give such great detail that you can almost smell the sage burning or hear the loons across the lake. Stories written in the fashion pull me in and I often find myself completely turning off the world around me.
    I think the only way for anyone to give an opinion on this is for me to post a paragraph from a current story that I am writing. Although I am not sure if this is allowed or recommended. If it is fine with this forum, then I will post what I feel is writing that will suck you in ad have you wondering what the hell is going to happen next.
    TY, Take care
     
  2. Never Master
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    Never Master Member

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    Before taking one critic's remarks too close to heart, you really should see what other people have to say about it. Don't canvas the neighborhood, but one opinion does not represent the majority. Like the critic who said Scarface was "a flat, boring movie with no amount of suspense or intrigue".

    The next thing to do, and this can be a huge help, is to review other people's works. That is more or less the point of this board. In reading someone's writing with a critical eye you more often than not pick out problems that have gone overlooked in your own piece. So I recommend sliding down to the Review Room and taking a crack at some of the stories that can be found there.

    If you need help reviewing, there are several helpful topics located there to help you get started.

    Good luck! And welcome to THE writing forum!

    PS: If you want people to look at your work, it is most certainly helpful to look at theirs first. Scratch my back, I scratch yours...that whole thing.
     
  3. linden
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    linden Member

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    As somebody who has been accused of being 'too descriptive', I'll share with you some things I have learned.

    - Description can take away from the plot and leave your reader confused. Too many words about the wind in the trees and the sound of the waves and the smell of the damp forest and the buzzing mosquito banging its head repeatedly against the screen of the open window .... makes it hard to follow what your point was.

    - Super detailed description can be very powerful when used to highlight something very important to your character or plot. It slows the reader down and helps to highlight that particular part.

    - For some people, any description they don't deem absolutely necessary is 'too much'. In the end, it's your writing, and you should go with your gut. Or at least get a second opinion.

    Other than that, as Never Master pointed out, try reviewing other people's work. Not only is it extremely helpful to you (you learn a lot when you review, trust me), but it's a requirement of this site in order to post your own work. I'm sure you've been reminded of this several times already, and have seen it in your travels through the various threads available here, but just a gentle reminder.

    Hope you find that helpful!
     
  4. jayroebuck
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    jayroebuck Member

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    Thank you, I have just posted my first review of a script, which is a category that I am happy to see here as I also have a passion for film. I am in no hurry to post, and will earn my chops with the reviews as recommended. In reading other peoples reviews I am seemingly getting feedback, although not directed at my own work, it's feedback and opinion non the less.
    I am enjoying the forum so far. Thank you!
     
  5. Destin
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    Destin Senior Member

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    Ive always found that it's best to leave your most detailed and amazing descriptions for the things that are either very interesting to the reader or are very important to the story.
    Ive read way too many stories where the writer describes everything in such great detail that I start skipping over his descriptions. Fact is, immediately after reading these flowery descriptions I forget them completely.
    They just aren't important to the story.
     
  6. jayroebuck
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    jayroebuck Member

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    Destin, I hear ya brother. I often skip over Kings writing. Sometimes it's just too much. (Just my opinion).
    Thanks for all the responses. I will be posting a sampling of my story in the novel section soon. I then expect to get murdered. LOL
     
  7. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    Such descriptions should set the scene. I think it shouldn't be so detailed as to not let the reader make a picture in their own mind. Most people know the color of a sunset, for instance. No need to do 'the purple, orange glow shown in the sky like a......' when a 'We sat and watch the color of the sunset fall in to night'. It's one of the reasons why I have a hard time actually reading fiction, the writer often does not let me have my imagination.

    I think that descriptive writing needs to really just set up the time and location for the reader to understand the physical context. You can write it with a little flair but be sure you know that the reader can do most of that mental picture themselves.

    The only time it seems appropriate is when the depth of description has meaning. Such as with the 'the purple, orange glow' example if it was something that had special meaning like: 'The purple, orange glow shown in the sky. The last night I saw her, we laid on the grass of the hill and she described the colors to me during that sunset.....' and so on. It matters if it moves some level of the story. Otherwise. like someone said, it moves the reader off the plot if it is description for the sake of it.
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Since other people have already shared some good advice, I'll keep this post brief. Basically, try to include only things that are necessary and important, either to the plot or to characterization.
     

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