Shoring up weak spots

Description is Written Enemy Number 1 in my world.

Part of the problem is that I don’t like to read books that are heavy on description. I loved the plot of Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword, but when she was describing everything in Corlath’s tent down to the etching on the handle of the tea cup . . . get me to the fighting, please!

I know not everyone is that way. I have two fabulous writing buddies in particular who write gorgeous descriptions, and they’re always great at encouraging more description on my part. It’s not something that comes easily to me, and I need all the help I can get.

Description is a necessary part of writing well, though the depth of description depends greatly on your patience with it. If you need a little practice with it, take up this week’s writing challenge:

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Take a look around you and write a description of what’s there–not just what you see with your eyes, but what you smell, hear, feel. Get into what it makes you think of, too–memories, hopes, people, etc.

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How do you feel about description? Are you into reading pages and pages of it? Do you tend to over-describe or under-describe in your writing?

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2 Comments

  1. I like the Goldilocks approach: just enough. I’ve read writers who are so sparse on description it’s noticeable, and writers whose descriptions are so, well, too much, I lose interest. The tough part–how much is just enough. And that’s subjective, just like everything else 🙂 Sigh. I just need to find my magic just-right description wand…

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