Thursday, October 4, 2012

Writer's Voice …More on the SPACe Model

My previous blog expanded upon my SPACe model, covering contemporary genres.

Take note of the literary elements that sit in opposition in my model—Setting…Character, and Plot…Action.

Lots of room to disagree here, but I contend that over-doing either of these pairs may weaken the impact of your narrative.

In the first case, they are both description, description of the world your characters act in, and description of the actors in your world.

But the previous norm in writing entailed lots of description…Literary Fiction. I frankly abhor Literary. Does it surprise you to read I feel there is too much description in it?

Plot and Action tilted narrative would be impossible to follow for three hundred pages. But in non-literary short stories and novellas, the writer almost has to lean toward motion to get the story told in the shorter format. In twenty-five-hundred to five-thousand words, you only have so much space for description.

The longer the piece, the more description is required to allow the reader to feel in the motion. The thirty-thousand word novella can still go light on description, yet keep the reader interested.

Have a great day!


  1. It's a delicate balance. I tend to be not so good at description, which is probably why I find short stories easier than a novel whereas many are the opposite!

  2. Thing is what you class as literary fiction. Cormac McCarthy's landscape in many respects is as important as his characthers. James Lee Burke brings Louisiana to life with his description and nobody has evoked the West to me as beautifully as Larry McNurtry's Lonesome Dove books. It might be more a case of how skilfully you use description as opposed to lazy padding. Then again it might equally be a difference of tastes, and nothing wrong with that

  3. I'm not a big fan of description, too much of it to be specific. I like my imagination to do the work.

    Great post!