“Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them.” — John Ruskin
I have critiqued several works over the past few days, and if theres one thing that has stuck out the most its over describing things.
I use to do this too, and still do it a lot. New writers believe that vivid and beautiful prose is good writing, and that nothing else matters. I use to write paragaphs of flowering description and thought that because it sounded so poetic that it would keep readers engaged and they would keep on reading, but after several rejections I began to question my talent. It turns out that flowery prose isn’t good writing, in fact, in a lot of cases it can actually be the opposite. Now, I’m not saying that vivid language is bad writing, in fact vivid language can bring a story to life. The problem is when its used for the sake of the langauge its self, rather then the story. Let me repeat that. The story is the number one priority in any work, if you forget the plot, forget that deal.
A story should always be moving forward, an event should always be turning into another event and so on. The suspense should be building, the images should be moving the reader in to new images, eager to discover the second image. In elements of style (a book I think every writer should read) the author says that If a basic more direct would will do, use that, instead of using a bunch of flowery words that are nothing but metpahors. Metaphors should really only be used to show the character of the voice. As human beings we use metaphors a lot to express our personalities. I believe this is really the only situation flowery prose serves its purpose.
To me the mark of good writing is when a complicated scene can be described with basic, direct language.
anyways, off to try and understand some swedish television