Descpription - Not enough?

by Loriane

Question: I'm currently writing a fanfiction and I have a friend of mine who says I don't have a lot of details. I describe what the character does, feels, etc but she always tells me that it's not enough... I'm starting to feel like I'm not a good writer... Here are my paragraphs for my opening scene where I introduce my Original character's relationship with her fiancé.

Answer: You're not a bad writer, but I could make some suggestions.

You're compressing a lot of background information into a short passage, rather than focusing on what the character is doing/experiencing in the actual scene. Hence, it feels like the reader is getting a bit of an infodump while nothing is really happening in the scene. (Maybe you intend something important to happen in the next paragraph, but I can only comment on what I see.) If this background information is not important to the scene, I'd suggest you wait and introduce it when it becomes relevant.

Also, you're "telling" a lot of information that perhaps it would be better to "show." For instance, it might be better to illustrate the relationship between the main character and Jonathan through a scene in which they interact. Describe an event (an irreversible action or decision) that establishes how unsatisfying the relationship is for her. For instance, you might show the moment when he proposes, or when he announces they will be moving overseas once they are married (in total disregard for her feelings), or where his lack of affection is revealed. (Is he secretly gay and this is just a marriage for show?)

Similarly, you might consider writing a scene in which the main character gets her first glimpse of the Titanic. You might describe the ship and her emotional response to it and show how it contrasts with that of other people. Externally, she might have to hide her feelings, while internally this scene could be the moment when she realizes she does not want to marry Jonathan.

In other words, try to involve the reader in events that show what's happening to the characters. Describing events in detail rather than summarizing them is what gives the reader the emotional experience of them.

It's just a matter of how you approach storytelling, not a problem with your writing.

(I don't generally comment on specific passages, which is why I'm not posting your actual excerpt.)

Best of luck.

Click here to post comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions About Novel Writing.

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero