Isabelle Joshua

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Character and Scene Descriptions

As a writer, I struggle over descriptions and describing the scene and what my characters look like. I spend countless hours researching outfits (if it is important to the scene) or homes and the layout.  For every book I've written, I have a Pinterest page where I save images, and I save homes that I scour the internet for to use as the homes of my characters. I have to picture it all in my head and then translate it down onto the page.  But I also know that my stories are anemic when it comes to descriptions compared to other authors.  When I write a scene, I usually plow through with the dialog or what is happening and then go back on the second draft and add more description unless it was originally pivotal to the scene.  But as I reader, my focus is entirely different.

I realized this during a discussion with the book club I'm a part of.  We were discussing the differences between the character described in some of our favorite books and the actor's portrayal or appearance in the movie version.  I typically separate the book from the movie version because the author usually has minimal control over what happens in the movie.  But the women were going on and on about the differences between who played the characters and how different his look was to the one in the book. I was baffled, I said I rarely remember what the characters look like unless it is a very prominent characteristic or mentioned frequently. They suggested that it could be that I read the books so fast it is hard to remember the details.  Maybe but I think the details aren't as important to me.  I like the action as a reader, and I want the story to move. And so often the story drags when it suddenly starts describing a character's outfit in the middle of the action.  Especially if it doesn't add anything, I don't effing care that he is wearing epaulets unless they have some special power that saves the world, because otherwise the character need to get on with it, her friends are waiting for her to save the world!

Maybe it is just me, but I don't care what the curtain or the end table looked like or if it was some antique 2nd century whatever, does it matter to the story? No, then tell me it's an antique end table and move on!

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