Your blog has helped me a great deal and I can honestly tell you my writing has gotten better. However I do still struggle with one thing: detail. How do I know if I have too much or not enough?
I’m so glad to hear the blog has been helpful. :) <3
The key to including the right amount of detail is this:
No matter how much you describe something, the reader is never going to see it in their head the way you see it in yours. Never.
So, what you’re really going for with description is to give the impression of something by pointing out the important details, and then letting the reader fill in the gaps.
Let’s say you want to describe a character attending a ball. You could spend several paragraphs detailing the style, cut, fabric, and construction of the dress, right down to every last bead. You could spend several more paragraphs describing the hairstyle, shoes, and jewels. You could do this, but what have you accomplished? Again, even with all that detail, the reader won’t imagine exactly what you’re imagining. All you’ve really done is let the reader know that the character was dressed for a ball–which they probably could have guessed. So, what you want to do instead is point out the really special details. In other words, the things you want the reader to remember. If there are any details that are important to the story for some reason (like Cinderella’s glass slippers), that’s definitely a detail you would want to point out. If the green of her dress makes her hazel eyes look green, that’s another detail you might want to point out. And then, just a few details: She stepped onto the ballroom floor wearing an elegant satin gown, the same deep blue of the sky after the sun has set. Diamonds hung from her ears and around her neck, and even lined the combs that held her ornate updo in place. In a word, she was dazzling.
So, we don’t know the exact style of the dress, whether it’s long or short sleeved, what kind of neckline it has, or the style or fabric of the dress, but none of that matters if it’s not important to the story. The above description gives just enough detail to give the reader an impression of how she looked. They can imagine the rest. :)
——————————————————————— Have a writing question? I’d love to hear from you! Please be sure to read my ask rulesand master listfirst or your question will not be answered. :)
This Sunday Comin’ Down Playlist features tracks from The Dead Weather, Spiritualized, New Order + more. Be sure to get your listening in before we cook up next week’s playlist and follow us on Spotify!