Site Meter Vamps and Scamps: Description...boring or brilliant??

Monday, March 20, 2006

Description...boring or brilliant?? much is too much??

And I don’t mean this about the sex because that’s sort of determined by the line but what about the rest of the story...

I often wonder how much does the reader really want to know? Do you really give a hoot what he/she is wearing? How they fix their hair? What they’re wearing on that date and to what detail? Black shoes, white shoes? Blah, blah, blah...

What about the setting...what the room looks like, how she’s making those knitted hats, how he’s building that four-lane bridge?

Sometimes I feel like I’m boring everyone to tears but it does add color or is it adding surface crap?

So, how much is too much or too little?
Any thoughts on this?

Hugs, Dianne

The Way U Look Tonight
April ‘06
RT: 4½ star review
Brava Kensington


Dannyfiredragon said...


that is really not an easy question to answer.

As a reader I want some background information, so that I can see the scene before my inner eye.

As an author I wouldn't describe everything till the tiniest detail, because that can get really boring for your reader.

Do I make sense?

Cryna said...

I like detail so as to set the scene in my mind, and the clothes are often fansinating as well. But I find when you get the tiniest details, that gets boring. I think that an Author has to give enough detail to make the story more plausible and interesting, but not get bogged down in describing things down to the color of ashtrays if that makes sense.

Dianne I have never found in any of your books that you have overdone the informtion, you always seem to give just enough descriptions and backgrounds to let us associate with what is going on, but not boring.


Shiloh Walker said...

i just need enough to set the scene.

Some detail, but not excessive. If somebody is describing every last thing to the color of the pattern on their tennis shoes, uh.. that is a little over board to me.

just tennis shoes works.

Jennifer Y. said...

Like Shiloh said, just enough to set the scene. I like enough detail that I can picture the characters and what is going on though.

snowflake said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
snowflake said...

Details help readers to visualise and immerse themselves in a scene but I think the question of how much to include would depend on the purpose of the scene. Some scenes get weighed down by too much peripheral details and undermines the main action taking place. If the heroine is knitting something, I don't want an instruction manual on knitting, just enough for me to understand what is going on.

How the details are introduced in the narrative is also important. As a female, I'm naturally interested in the heroine's attire and to a lesser extent the hero's but I don't want a huge chunk of details that sticks out like a sore thumb on the page. That is so without finesse and probably a transparent attempt to bump up the word count.

Judy F said...

I like just enough to set the scene. Too much drives me nuts. I like enough that it makes me feel that I am there in the moment. I read a book once that it was pages and pages describing the drive from the airport to the heros castle. I wanted to say drive faster. Dianne I think you have the right blend.

Lucy Monroe said...

Oooh...I think this has a lot to do with the story itself. Really. Sometimes, you need more description because the setting is a character in the story, or how the heroine dresses (down to minute detail) is really important to the development of the plot, or characterization...but in the general way, I like description that feels interactive and will often skim descriptive bits that get in *my* way of reading for emotion and the advancement of the plot. LOL

Kelley said...

I do the same thing as Lucy. Sometimes to much description just gets in the way of the story. I care more about the emotional peice and character developement. When the hero and heroine are in the room together and something really major is about to happen I just want to yell, "Get on with it". But on the other hand, I like to have enough to be able to picture the scene in my head. I cant make up my mind. I guess I just want it all!!

PS. Great question.

Stacy~ said...

I really think it depends on the story and the author. Sue Grafton does wonders with less detail, but her stories flow smoothly and they are nice, quick reads (I don't care what anyone says, I love the titles to her books). Other authors, like Diana Gabaldon, excel at giving a more thorough description while still entertaining me as a reader.

I guess the answer is depends on what details you're giving. For example, if it's a quirk, or interesting fact about the character, an author might reveal the character loves to wear purple, then it might be mentioned that their nail polish, skirt, and eyeshadow are purple, or another time it could be their sandals and scarf. But I'd hate that information on every single character in every scene. And not everytime that particular character is in the room! Keep in simple and not use so many words so we can get to the good stuff ;)

Cindy said...

I like some detail, but nothing over the top. Like Shi's tennis shoe example. LOL


Lori said...

I agree with everyone~that it depends on the story. I like details and I find interesting to read what the characters are wearing and to have details about where they are at. Too many details can lead me to loose interest. It just seems to be about balance. I could not imagine writing like all you wonderful authors do.