This is not very good advice because I don’t know. We all know that description is good, especially in fantasy if you are world building then you need to the reader to see the world. I’ve read books and been very confused as to the setting, I’ve read some that magically transport me to the place and others that have put me to sleep with endless pointless details. In my next re-write of my book one of the many things I plan to do is check that I have not over describe things. I have read a bit on it have picked the following tips;
Only describe important things;
I’ve definitely fallen foul of this, endlessly describing a town my characters spend less than a chapter in. I once wrote a detailed description of the sewer system. There was one scene when the story was in the sewer literally not figuratively. I read quiet a good book that dedicated nearly a chapter to describing how to make proper pizzas, it had nothing to do with the plot and really annoyed me at the time.
What do you really see?
Think about a friend or loved one and then write a quick description, what is it you remember? I willing to bet it’s not the eye colour. Yet lots of books always start with describing a person eyes, I know a lot of mine do. Unless it’s important like Harry Potter’s green eyes don’t bother mentioning it. What we normally remember is one or two striking features, it could be there eccentric dress, the fact they are strikingly beautiful and have full luscious lips or their noise is too big or chin a bit week. When I first met my wife (she wasn’t my wife then I didn’t buy her online) I remember her hair. In a stressful situation you probably notice very little. I was asked to read a chapter of a WiP and the writer spend endless time describe the eyes and face of a person who had just attacked the main character, it just came over as padding. In reality you would be too busy defending yourself or in this case liying on the floor in pain to stare in their eyes and describe them in detail.
Sometimes more is less
Some books can describe a setting with one or two well-crafted sentences. The morning sun reflecting over the roof tiles can often tell us more then detailed descriptions of a building. Would be even better if I could draw and stick in a few illustrations
Use all your senses.
Some of the best of the description includes all your senses, what can your character smell, how does the ground feel under his feet? Is he hot or cold? Is there a breeze ort a strong wind? You get the idea.
Watch your obsessions
For me that would be over describing the clothes. I’m quite geeky about them right for my world I have to remember that’s not interesting to everyone so not to describe in detail whatever incidental character has on. Another friend of mine insisted on describing the guns in his book in very technically detail, all very impressive but I find it a tad boring.
Well there is it is anyone else have some useful tip bits on description, all advice is gratefully received?