Whose imagination is better, your reader’s, or yours?

by Angelique on October 26, 2010

wall of wigs in various colors and stylesOne of the great challenges facing any writer of fiction is describing people and places to the reader. How are the descriptions worked into the narrative? Are you going to give the reader all the important stats right off the bat, or will the reader discover the features as the story unfolds?

There are many ways to present descriptions to readers, but before you even start to write them, stop and think about this: how much of what you are seeing in your mind’s eye really matters to your story?

Are the details of a room integral to the plot? Or will it suffice to write a brief outline that gives the reader the feel of the place?

Does a character’s height and weight matter because he or she is helped or harmed by it? Or is it completely irrelevant?

Be especially careful of creating a hard shutdown of your plot by stopping the action dead to describe a setting in detail. Readers who are enjoying your plot will just skip over the stuff that’s slowing them down, and readers who enjoy your descriptions will get frustrated, wondering why you didn’t give them this information earlier, before the story got rolling.

Remember: You don’t have to control every aspect of your readers’ experience. If it doesn’t interfere with your story, let them imagine the world of your story for themselves.

Have questions? Please ask! The comment section is below!

 

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