Monday, June 25, 2012

In the Details

         Over the weekend I started reading a new book, which I probably won't post a review on. The plot is great, the suspense is perfect, but... I feel like I'm drowning in details. Every character,setting, is described so that I have no problem envisioning exactly what the author is talking about. For me, that is a problem. I like for a lot to be left up to my imagination to fill in the gaps. There are exceptions, of course. If the main character were suddenly attacked by aliens, I might want a bit more guidance in what they look like. But a hot high school boy with blue eyes and long black hair? I can take it from here, thanks.
        But I am just one reader in millions. What do you think? On a related note, once a description has been used, should you use it again, on the same character or any other? For example: if I say a girl has long silky blond hair so shiny it actually reflects the sun, should I say it again the next time she is in the story? Can any other girl have blond, sun-reflecting hair? As always, your comments are appreciated!

1 comment:

  1. i don't have any strong and fast rules about which writing style i prefer. there is a vast range in the middle of descriptiveness that i'm happy with. there are as many different author voices as their are authors.
    that said, overly verbose is just that- too much. but i do like having some clue about what a character looks like early on. because i watch the book like a movie in my head as i read it. and if i form an image and then a couple chapters later have to completely override that image it is kind of frustrating as a reader and interrupts the flow of the story.
    in a first person narrative, i think it's most important to remember what the character would see when they look at the world. if they're apt to notice details, well let them. but it they gloss over that kind of thing, well let them do that as well.
    i have one WIP where the first person narrator is a bit obsessive (and by a bit, i mean extremely) and so her level of description and to some degree repetition is naturally higher than i'm used to using.
    that said, the author does need to be conscious of how the narrative is going to hit the reader and not allow the character voice to exceed to the point of being obnoxious.