How much description needed for sense of place? - Page 3


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Thread: How much description needed for sense of place?

  1. #21
    The description you’ve given in the OP is enough. More would be to much and less wouldn’t stick. You can always flesh out details as you go along. The initial description of a place is one that creates an atmosphere for the story to build on rather than as an actual blow by blow description. I get a good sense of place and mood from what you’ve laid out in the description.

  2. #22
    I think you've done a fine job with your setting in your initial post. As far as setting, I consider it a character in its own right; it's every bit as important to me as the protagonist.
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  3. #23
    I feel that setting can take on greater or lesser import depending on the scene in question. Sometimes an expansive, sweeping description is called for and sometimes a one-liner. It all depends on the goal of that particular scene.

  4. #24
    Sometimes a description gives me a whole picture in a line or two, Raymond Chandler is good at that, but I know that my picture is probably not the same as any other reader's, we each have our own. The more detail the more we will converge, but unless it is a place we all know I don't reckon we ever match up perfectly, so why bother trying? So long as you get across the important bit for the story let the reader interpret the rest as they will.
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  5. #25
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    It depends on how important the setting is or how different it might be for some people. If it's a novel, appose to non-fiction about homesteading then you want to make each sentence do as much heavy lifting as possible. You can release small snippets of information. Someone said, sentences need to evoke theme, plot, character and setting and as many of them as possible. Seeing through the eyes of the characters is more interesting than just describing the area. You can combined setting and character with a character memory. So if you need to describe a river, mention it as a memory for the character. Maybe he remembers one lovely summer's day there, or when he rode his first horse through the water. Connecting things to setting works. In a novel about Boadicea I read she described in detail a field she played sword fighting in as a child with sticks - later she'd have a real battle on that field.

    Hope that was in some way helpful

  6. #26
    'It depends ...' is a really good answer, it depends on so many things. If you are really good at descriptive and shit at character give it some. If it is the other way round, don't. Sounds obvious, but people try to do things they are shit at because they think they ought, or cut short what they are good at because they think they should.

    Another good answer then would be 'The right amount.' That could be different for every writer and judging it is the subliminal skill that separates typist from writers, or one of them.
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  7. #27
    I feel like description of a place should give the reader a sense of size, color, mood, but should never be overdone. Describing the color of the walls is great but going down to how the wall feels against the hand of the character is a little too much. Stuff like that should really be left alone unless it serves a purpose. Describing a cold wall that makes the character miss home is nice, but if it has nothing to do with the story it's unneeded. Big descriptions of how a setting works can also be confusing and you can lose the reader rather quickly. Overall, using the description to set up the tone of a place or setting is great just don't over do it.

  8. #28
    I think description was difficult for me because I was not much of an observer and I had to get my characters to interact with the setting.
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  9. #29
    In my personal experience, you don't want to give an information dump. Just write enough to get an overall picture of where you are at.. throw a few colors and shapes in there.. and then have your characters describe more about the area in dialogue (would need to be an organic reason for it to come up in dialogue). You can also throw in some environmental descriptions if the plot requires a character to interact with it. Hope that helps.

  10. #30
    Member hvysmker's Avatar
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    I have one very long action story where a certain house is used repeatedly, off and on. For that reason, each room is described in, basically, a narrated info dump.

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