Thursday, January 13, 2011


'They' tell us, as authors, that is important to read as much as possible... I'm still not sure how I'm supposed to be reading and writing at the same time... Oh! And taking care of the grand daughter, doing laundry, networking, classes, meetings. etc. etc. etc.

But - I do find it most interesting that books have changed over the years. When I first started reading, a millenia or so ago, there was a lot of exposition and description and such. My reading groups seem to have grown up in the same era... though I know they all haven't.

The critiques I receive keep asking for descriptions of characters and the like. However, having picked up a few 'new' books lately - I see that description might be a thing of the past. At least, the lengthy descriptions common in Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, and Montgomery. Two of the news books haven't a word of hair color for the heroines....

BUT - I am finding that descriptions of characters are lacking in the 'old' books. What we do get are copious descriptions of the places of the book.

Alice In Wonderland goes well beyond three pages before we get any look at Alice. And Peter Pan - good grief, we have more description of Nana (the Newfoundland dog) and the maid, Liz, than we do of any of the Darlings or Peter for ever so long into the book. Anne of Green Gables goes four pages before we even meet Marilla. She is the only one described in those four pages....

So why do my fellow critiquers want more... I'm considering that it means my story fixates them - and that is a good thing. I'll keep believing that - and keeping the descriptions to a minimum so that they must keep reading to find out the little niggling things that their minds want to know.

1 comment:

  1. I read somewhere that part of Tolkien's success in writing descriptions was that he created a scene not of a specific location so much as in such details that anyone could identify, so that as you read a passage you think, "I know a place just like that." Hence, when the movies were released, those who read the books saw the Shire and immediately thought, "That's it!"