The Power of Description

I’ve been struggling with this very concept from the start. Description is NOT my strong suit when it comes to writing. I think I do plot, character, and action reasonably well, what I tend to skim over is description of setting.

I’m conflicted on how much effort I should put into improving it, and I think I’ll have a better idea once Crow’s Blood (BookB) has been in the hands of a few CPs and my Alpha Readers have had a chance to go through it start to finish.

I’ve been trying to come up with a way to get my point across. I’ve been handed the perfect tool. I want you to go watch something, something that may well blow your mind. Alan Rickman making tea…

Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Back? Good. Hopefully you watched the whole thing, it gets real right around 4 minutes in. Back again? Fantastic!

Now you’ve just watched 7 minutes of Alan Rickman making tea in slow motion. Tell me, without going back to look at it, what did the room look like? How about the wall behind him? The desk? I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I could tell you more about the look on his face, or the tea-bag, or the lemon than anything else in that video.

That’s my point, and I want you to argue with me about it. If the action and the characters are compelling enough, do I need to do more than give the absolute basic framework of the surroundings? Crow’s blood weighs in at ~100,000 words/~430 Manuscript pages (unedited), and it’s reasonably fast paced.

I try to provide what description is necessary, while avoiding great gobs of exposition that will mess with the pacing and ultimately be forgotten. I’m sure I’ll have more to discuss on this after I get finished with this revision (7 chapters to go) and work through my first round with some Critique Partners, but I want to know in the comments (if possible) if anyone else feels the same, or if I’m crossing some line in the sand of fiction?

Oh and I really just wanted everyone to watch  7 minutes of Alan Rickman making tea, because it’s AWESOME!

– Alex

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Filed under BookB, Editor, Ego, Id, Learning, Revision, Story Elements, Word Count

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