Friday’s Findings: Balancing Descriptions

Not too much, not too little.

Not talking about the ranch seasoning powder I add to my tuna casserole recipe. I’m talking about description in fiction writing.

I keep reading over and over: description isn’t about quantity, it’s about quality. Whether it’s describing a character, a room, or a car, one or two descriptors go a lot further to create just the right word picture than paragraphs that go on and on and on about that messy bedroom belonging to your teenage son.

But how do you find just the right descriptor? In my rough drafts, I will go on and on and on about that messy bedroom — for example — and then pick one, two or maybe three things to paint the scene in impressionistic fashion.

The pile of a week’s worth of smelly clothes. A permanently rumpled bedspread, half on the bed, half on floor. A crooked window blind. There’s more, but that’s enough for now; I can add more later in the scene if needed. I just don’t want to overpower the reading with too much description at first.

More on description:

Photo by Daria Shevtsova

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