Too much Detail

A question arose today between a friend and me over another writer’s work, who went into painful detail describing a room and the view from a window.   I think my friend was of the opinion that this piece could be saved.  As for me, I have to send this one to the ‘O’ file.

If one tells me there was a palm tree blowing in the breeze, I am perfectly capable of visualizing a palm tree.  I’ve been to Florida many times.  I do not need to be told about the bent fronds, the sharp bark and the bugs that call it home.  This kind of work represents the stuff that makes you lick your finger and flip pages as fast as you can.

To paraphrase Donald Hall, ‘There is no need to write green grass.  Once you write grass, everyone sees green.’

To paraphrase Stephen King, ‘Imagery occurs in the readers mind. Only the most important details are needed.’


3 thoughts on “Too much Detail

  1. Ha! I think it’s very funny that you quote Monsieur Roi, especially because in his book, The Shining, when he arrives at that interminable section where you get the rather densely described history of the Overlook Hotel, I completely skipped that section, and picked up where the REAL action began again. History is GOOD; Imagery is BAD, in his mind at least.


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