HOW TO DETERMINE THE AMOUNT OF DESCRIPTION YOU NEED
One of the common misconceptions about writing is that you have to be a good writer. False. You don’t have to be good at writing, you just have to be good at planning and story-telling.
People have a tendency to forgive shaky writing, bad similes, and grammatical errors if the story is worthy of a read. Now if you have all of these bad elements and a terrible story, then no one will read your book except for friends and family.
I have read books where the writing is sub-par but the story is exciting and full of energy. Were there a few words that were out-of-place? Yup. Was the rhythm off? Yup. Was the writing choppy and course? Absolutely. But what about the story? Was it any good? Indeed.
I’m not going to give examples because I don’t typically like to globally smash other people’s work, but trust me…you would know some of these books.
I don’t want writers to be intimidated because of difficulties with prose. I say that you need to keep writing no matter what. Don’t be afraid to allow a friend to edit your work, and don’t be offended whenever he tells you that a few sentences here and there are shaky.
Here’s another pitfall that is on the other extreme. Some writers who are good want to show just how good they are – lacing their prose with thick metaphors, lofty words, and flowery language. This is a problem too, in most cases, because people have trouble reading through thick prose. It’s like navigating your way through a jungle of words.
1) She walked down the road. No cars were coming, so she felt safe.
2) Traveling down the melancholy avenue and pondering the events that which she had recently succumbed, she somehow felt imperviously secure; undoubtedly, this was due to the shortage of vehicles that often cluttered the boulevard.
There’s no need for the language in line 2 if the only purpose is to tell of her safety. Prose like line two can quickly become overwhelming, and the average reader will probably set your book down neatly on her coffee table.
On the contrary, if line 1 is all that fills the book, readers may continue reading if the story is compelling enough.
How many flowers should you plant in your garden of prose? I’d say err on the side of a few flowers for the first draft. If you find that the wording is lacking, then you can spruce it up.
Anyway. Thanks for stopping by. This week has been extremely busy for me, so I’ve been out of the blogosphere, and I apologize. I just wanted to finish the first draft of book 2, which I just finished yesterday! And I started on book 3. Sigh….
Have a good weekend…blogos-friends.