FRIDAY NOTES & NEWS: When Is a Description too Detailed?

CommuterLit editor & publisher

WHEN IS a description too detailed? Short answer: when the reader loses interest. But when is that?

Well, of course, the answer depends on the reader. But no matter whether you are describing a character, an object or a place, the aim is not to enumerate every single detail — if it reads like a list, you’ve gone too far. Rather concentrate on the essence of what you’re describing. What two or three things can you say that will bring it to life for the reader? What do you need to say to make the action of the scene or the plot make sense? For the characters, is it more important to mention hair and eye colour, or emotional, psychological, and personality traits? And what can you convey through verbs and action, as well as nouns, adverbs and adjectives?

There is no right or wrong way to write descriptions — just questions to consider. What’s your take on descriptive writing? Leave a comment below.

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