Monday, January 31, 2011

Description is Best Set in Minutia

I am not a tactful person. I can't tell you how many times I've gagged on a flowery piece of prose during a critique group. Let me summarize two facets of description I, not very humbly think, will cure all your description woes. (please recognize I meant this tongue in cheek.)

First: If your point of view character is a rich dude in another rich dude's house, he wouldn't think about the chandeliers, art work or, or fancy Persian carpets. He'd note what stands out to him. That might be the tic in his friend's eye. The slur in his speech. The well worn running shoes.

Last: Your reader doesn't really care what everyone is wearing, unless it is out of the ordinary. They don't care they wear jeans and a pullover, unless the jeans are so tight the character can't walk, or the pullover is covered in blood.

Minutia is more important than describing the style of furniture or the square footage of a room. More important is the whiff of cat hair that floats across the room when the AC comes on. The shiny edge of a belt buckle that sleeps under a vixen's belly button. The hesitation before speaking. The flick of missing polish on the otherwise gorgeously pedicured feet.

Less is more. And it should be pertinent to the protagonist's point of view. Let no scene slip by without that tiny snippet only your character would notice.

Write Every Day!


1 comment:

  1. Maybe too many words that's why I avoid literary fiction.