Monday, February 10, 2014

Off the Bookshelf: TELLING DETAILS, by Kat Duncan

Details are important -- otherwise, you get blank-faced, naked characters acting on a white stage. Kind of boring, huh?

Duncan does a great job, exploring all the ways to handle details, painting a picture, setting the scene, creating background, and building the characters themselves. Use your senses -- smell, taste, sound, motion, heat, texture, etc. She discusses telling versus showing, which is always a battle for writers. When exactly is it better to just TELL readers what's going on, versus SHOWING them? When does the pace demand quick imagery, and when can readers spend many long, leisurely minutes exploring the environment where the story takes place?

When is enough enough? When are your lovingly created details too much? That's something that depends on the type of story being told, the pace, the attitude, the genre -- and has to be learned through practice. But this kind of book is a great starting place, helping writers skip a lot of trial and error and wasted time. Another book worth reading regularly, to brush up on things maybe you forgot you need to do.

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