Author Topic: A question about description...  (Read 2849 times)

Nelodra

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Re: A question about description...
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2008, 12:13:40 PM »
Nelodra,

I definitely understand, and I do that myself. What I was really trying to say is that getting stuck in one chapter or section and trying to make it perfect for ages won't get you anywhere. It's the "over-editing" that causes problems. Which is why Nano is such a brilliant creation! Get the words down on paper and worry about every last little grammatical problem and wonky sentence later.

Cheers,
charlie

In that case, I think we're pretty much in agreement with each other.  :)

Offline redmeat73

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Re: A question about description...
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2008, 08:50:07 PM »
Mate, i think you half answerd you're own question. To make descriptive prose work you don't have to smear it with poetry. So i'm told: choosing the right word works wonders.

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Lin

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Re: A question about description...
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2008, 05:18:12 AM »
Are we into the old adage of  - Show don't tell?   I was telling too much information at one point until I learned otherwise and maybe I had the problem of the right balance, how much showing and how much telling.  I think once you have learned to show more, the telling comes where the reader couldn't possibly know without explaining it all in descriptive words.  Also it gives respite to the showing.  If you put all dialogue and feelings in there all the way through, we might have an exciting book but what about the background and scenery?  It would like eating an ice cream without the cone to hold it up.

I have to admit though, many of the novels I have recently read as a learning exercise,  do an awful lot of telling and over descriptive words.  At one point I got bored with one of the books because it did nothing but tell me about the story and lots of quotations from famous authors. I can't stand paragraphs of description about a place. I want to get on with the story.

Lin x

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: A question about description...
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2008, 08:47:45 AM »
Lin, I think I've had (and still do to some extent) have a problem with finding the right balance between telling and showing because I was first a story 'teller'.

But when a good story teller is relating a tale, they do a lot of 'showing' also in their expression, the way they pronounce or emphases words or phrases, the different voices used for various characters in the tale and even the story teller's body language. Those hearing the tale and watching the story teller gets their fair share of 'seeing' the story as it moves along.

The challenge for the story writer is to write all these things in such a way that we allow the reader to experience the story with us.

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Lin

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Re: A question about description...
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2008, 09:29:45 AM »
I watched the programme "Doctors" this afternoon, it a 'my time' part of the day.  So I watched some of the action and in my head put in some dialogue about what the character was thinking as he walked up to the front door of the house of an old lady.  He pressed the bell and she answered the door - did you see it?  (the double glazing man)  Anyway I just thought that if you get used to doing this its a very helpful exercise for your novels.  "Guess what's in his head"  Where there is action only on the TV - replace it with thoughts.  Brilliant.

If you wanted to take this further then write down what happened in the script and further the dialogue or thoughts yourself.  Try it!!  Its fun.  You know what happened, but if you put his thoughts in there because you already know the story, it can be a really useful way of showing and not telling.  Of course the BBC does show, because its TV but when it's a novel you have to show through other means. This exercise could be a way of helping you to realise how much to show and not tell.  It's all there in front of you on the screen!!  The rules of the game are to put in your own words based on the story you have already seen.

What was the double glazing salesman thinking as he approached the front door to ring the bell?


Lin x