When and how do you think a writer is being overdescriptive? How much is too much?
Or do you think there can never be enough descriptive text?
I feel that writing is very similar to painting. There are painters who paint in a fashion that is more minimalist and their goal is to say more with less words... and then there are those painters who like to paint every hair on the pony-- and they are going to have the mode of painting that is like "excess is never enough".
The same is true of decorating or any other art form. There are those that believe less is more-- and those that believe more is more.
Who's to say which is best? It is all a matter of personal style and taste... for sure.
The author who is known for writing a huge novel is probably not going to be the expert at writing short stories. There is a time and place for all writing and writers.
The key is to write in the style that you find most inspirational-- and to read the authors that write in the style that you enjoy-- or the styles that you learn something from!
In my opinion, a writer can not be over descriptive. Writers do not have the audio visual advantage of television and when they write got to be descriptive to present a clear photo of what they are writing about. A writer can be too wordy and competitive with same word choices, but it is my opinion that being over descriptive is not a fallacy of being a good writer. How much is too much is not applicable when a writer has to describe what they are writing about to receive a clear understanding from the reader.
I don't think a writer can be too descriptive. That is their particular style and way of getting thier point accross. Whether the reader likes that style is another issue. I do think that writers can be too wordy. The reader gets lost in unecessary words and irrevlevant details. I admit I am somtimes guilty as charged in that case. I try to combat it by using advice I got from a teacher: Read what you wrote. Now go back and take out half of it.
I tend to agree with ArtzGirl. How much description you use is often a matter of style. Of course, I also agree with Dana and Hubpage Girl in so much as the reality that rich and deep description, which often means lots of it, is very helpful to writing. As a writing teacher, I can also suggest this is true in regards to the fact that most beginning writers--especially middle school kids--don't use enough.
Still, I think you can go overboard. I absolutely love the novels of Victor Hugo, but 50 pages describing the city of Paris from the top of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in The Hunchback of Notre Dame and 100 pages of describing the nunnery in Les Miserables was really unnecessary!
The truth is that the right amount of description is the amount that best serves the purpose of the story and gives the reader a rich, varied and vivid experience. Since purposes vary so much, as well as readers, that's a pretty hard mark to clearly identify beyond the reaches of a particular writing piece.
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