Details, Details

I previously wrote on the importance of finding the right balance of details in a novel:

It’s true that too little detail is boring. Just as certain is that not allowing a story to breathe, to capture the reader and bring them in, is just as boring. It doesn’t take a lot of detail to paint a picture in the mind. A perception. A feeling. An immersive book doesn’t have to be 200,000 words long. Fewer and purposefully chosen words can ignite the reader’s imagination, draw them inside and propel them forward.

Novelist and professor James Hynes, in his course Writing Great Fiction, also implores writers to get your details right:

…evocative writing provides significant detail, but it doesn’t overwhelm the reader. The point is to draw something out of your readers, which you can’t do if you pour too much in. This is a tricky balance to get right, and beginning writers often have the most difficulty with it. Just as one common error among young writers is not providing enough detail, another…is to overcompensate by telling to much. Often, inexperienced writers will go on for several paragraphs about the appearance of a character or place when a few well-chosen sentences or words would have done just as well.

Finding the right balance of detail can allow your readers disappear into your book, or make your book disappear.

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Categories: Fiction, Writing | Tags: | 1 Comment

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  1. Pingback: When Violence Fails Writers | Darrick Dean

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