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Discussion: Using Descriptive Language

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Today’s topic comes from QSFer and Admin Angel Martinez:

“How about descriptive language? What pet peeves do you have in authors’ descriptions in stories? (too long, certain items, certain words, etc.).”

I’m on the fence with this one. One the one hand, I almost fell asleep reading one of Jean M. Auel’s Clan of the Cave Bear books, where the devoted something like TWENTY NINE PAGES in an epic data dump describing all the plants and herbs of the prehistoric period – an apparent effort on the author’s part to show off all the stuff she had learned during her research, while the story lay dying by the roadside.

On the other hand, I often read stories where the focus is all on the characters, and I don’t get any real sense of the world they are living in. I’m a visual guy, so this is always hugely frustrating for me.

So back to Angel’s point – how do you use description in your stories? What do you like when reading others’ works? Too much? Too little? Pet peeves?

Come join the discussion.

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