Sunday, January 15, 2012

Over using description

I'm in the middle of editing/rewriting Deep Embrace at the moment. I hate reading original drafts. You see it with new eyes. Suddenly all of the flaws that you did not seen months ago are dancing in front of you naked. One thing that has jumped out to me about the first draft of Deep Embrace is how much I can overuse description and my characters showing over the top and unreaslitc emotions. It's really quite embarrassing. I have characters shoving fists into their mouths, sobbing all the time and "slashing" their gaze across someone else. It feels really good to rewrite these chapters and tone them down alot. I am always telling other writers that description is a good tool to be used. And it is. I like to read "visual" stories that show character's expressions, their body language, etc. I think it helps to bring them and the book alive. But too much description can ruin it.

Half the time I'm not even aware that I'm over using description. I find writing first drafts real hard. I'm creating everything from scratch. So sometimes I just let myself go. I'll write down whatever comes to me. If I spend too much time agonising over each sentence I know that I'll never finish. So that means sometimes writing pure crap. Which means when I read back over it during rewrites I end up cringing and wondering if I have any talent at all.

What is clear to me is that I am continuing to grow and develop as a writer. My style is changing. I'm trying to avoid doing things like head hopping. I made an effort right from the beginning to always be inside Perse's head in Deep Embrace. And in the rewrites I've made an effort to avoid describing body parts as if they are acting on their own (Her eyes moved around the room) and I've also been making an effort to not spend too much time describing character's phsyical appearances and to always stay in present tense.

I would like to cut down on description too. Do I really need to say something like "Her eyes cut across his face" when I could put it in a much more simpler way like "She threw him an angry look." While the above sentence is okay once in a while the problem with my original draft is I have used that sort of writing too much.

It feels really good to finally be fixing those problems.

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