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.

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