Description is hard

When I read, there are a few things that I am looking for in general. Everyone reads for a different reason. These are the reasons I read:

I want to be transported to a land far away from where I currently am.

I want to escape.

I want to be someone else for a while.

I want a new life.

I want adventure.

But in order to get lost in the story, there has to be description. The story has to come alive with every word that I read. Do you feel the same? However, having said all that. I am a person of few words. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I’m not a flowery descriptive person. I wish I was, but that is not the case. I’ve seen some authors drone on and on about an object, while my eyes glaze over because I just want them to move on. Meanwhile, other authors are brief and to the point and I’m wishing they provided more.

One thing that I struggle with as a writer is being descriptive. I usually say a few words about something and then move on. Then when I send in my work for feedback the instructor says – stay in that moment and give more detail. He’s right. I just don’t know how. Do you struggle with this at all?

One thing that I noticed that has helped me see some improvement, is writing something that I know. It really does make a difference because I can actually see the scene in my head and know what I need to write, so you the reader can see it the same way I do.

Now if I’m writing a story about some type of creature in the ocean- shark or mermaid, obviously i have not been around them (wish I had been, though). So I usually watch a few movies to see how the creature moves or observe the scenes around the creature, like the ocean, beach, rocks, etc. It sounds a little much, but those are the things I get hung up on. I’ve even picked up a few books about sharks or mermaids to see how how they were described to see if I was off base at all with any of my descriptions, or were there certain movements that I missed.

Personally, I think there is a fine line between too much description and not enough. I want enough description that you understand what I’m trying to convey and to help you visualize it, but not enough that you start to skip scenes in my story.

How do you know if you have enough detail/description?

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