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RANT: I want to SEE the story damn it! Options · View
Posted: Thursday, April 07, 2011 9:26:37 AM

Rank: First Person Smartass

Joined: 2/8/2011
Posts: 345
Location: The suburbs.

How would you write what is happening in this picture?

How would you convey the actions?
The characters?
The setting?
The mood?
(Go ahead and jot something down.)

Frustration is a BAD thing to generate in your readers. Books that frustrate (poor grammar, limp dialogue, wishy-washy action, weak description, over-blown description...etc.) are tossed against a wall. The technical term is: Wall-Bangers.

I want to SEE the Story ~ Damn it!!!

My BIGGEST Pet Peeve:Description-less Fiction.
-- I utterly loathe reading a book where everything happens in a colorless vacuum. You don't know where they are, you don't know what they're doing, you don't know what the Characters LOOK LIKE! I despise a book where I can’t SEE, or worse can see only bits of what's going on.

How the heck am I supposed to imagine the scene like a movie in my head without knowing what stuff looks like?

In far too much Erotica it's worse. The sex is detailed but the rest of the story is barely sketched out. If they’re gonna go into that much detail in the sex, they should do the same for the rest of the damned story!

For example, you get a nice juicy sex scene and some sprightly dialogue, but then you get:

She went into the kitchen and got a glass of water.

Then the dialogue starts back up again -- without bothering to even mentioning that she came out of the damned kitchen! WITHOUT a SCENE BREAK! Right in the middle of the damned paragraph without skipping a beat! Hell, it's done right in the middle of the damned dialogue!

This happened because the writer ASSUMED that reader KNOWS that she’s not in the kitchen any more. However, the truth of the matter is that the reader actually thought: "Oh wait, she's NOT in the kitchen any more...!" And then they had to GUESS how how it happened.

If you have to GUESS How the character got From position A ~ To position B,
You've been TOLD - Not SHOWN.

SHOW ME - Damn It!

By the time I got to the end of that book, I knew she had a living room, a bedroom and a kitchen, but I still didn't know if she lived in a House, a Condo, or an Apartment, and I didn't know what was in her house other than a couch in the living room and a bed in the bedroom. You KNEW from the sex scenes that the author knew how to write descriptive details, but it was like she decided to be lazy about everything else -- that describing stuff didn't matter as long as the sex was good.

Well, she was WRONG, and Damn it I felt CHEATED!

No Color = No CHARACTER!

When you were a kid, the first thing you did with a new friend is check out their bedroom.

Why? Seriously, think for a minute. Why did you want to check out the other kid's room?

To see what kinds of cool toys they had sure, but also to find out what KIND of kid you were playing with. The kinds of toys and pictures in their room told you what Kind of Kid they were.

Consider the room the kid Sid had from the movie Toy Story.

How much of Sid's character was in his bedroom?


Now, why would anyone leave such a gold-mine of character information; their HOME, their Clothes, their Stuff... out of the story?

I dunno, but it happens ALL THE DAMNED TIME.

There is way, Way too much Telling instead of Showing going on in the fiction I’m reading.
Too many stories read like a TV show with the picture too snowy to see anything clearly. Where the heck are they? What are they doing? How are they doing it? Gimme some Details! Gimme some color and textures! Some sounds! Some flavors! Some aromas!


But...! But...! But...!
"Descriptive detail, like any other element of fiction, should be present ONLY to develop character or advance plot. Too much leads to excessive wordiness, which in turn kills the pacing. It's not necessary to include details the reader can be expected to assume because they are normal life events. So, someone going to the kitchen to get a glass of water would be expected to return when she was finished, and that information isn't necessary. If the next part is dialogue between hero and heroine, her return is simply accepted." -- A well-meaning and very nice editor.

-- If she went to the kitchen in the fist place, it SHOULD be forwarding the plot. If getting that glass of water isn't an element of either "what has happened", "what is happening" or "what will happen" she should have never gone into the kitchen. BUT~! If that glass of water is important, so is her trip to the kitchen to get it. Therefore it should be SHOWN instead of TOLD.

ANYTHING that isn’t necessary to tell the story DOESN'T BELONG in the story!
If it CAN be pulled out - it SHOULD be pulled out.

If it's Important enough to be Mentioned, it's Important enough to be DETAILED.


"A picture is worth a thousand words."
-- Unless you are writing kiddie books, you don't get a picture, you get Words to illustrate your story. USE those Freaking Words! You don't need the whole thousand words to give me the picture, but SOME would be nice. Damn it!

If you want to write Fiction with clarity, VISUALIZE what is happening in your head. Play the scene out in your imagination and view it, just like a movie. If it shows up in your mind's eye, it belongs on the page. Okay? :)

Descriptive ASSUMPTIONS.

Normally, description-less fiction is Not what the writer intended. Usually it's a case of Oversight -- an Assumption. The writer saw the scene in their head and jotted down a few cues that would trigger the picture that they envisioned and ASSUMED everyone else reading those phrases would see what they saw.

Guess what? They DIDN'T.

The Reader always sees what THEY want to see unless you force them to see something else.

"They fucked, and it was glorious."

I can guarantee that no two readers (or writers) saw what I envisioned when I wrote those words.

The Writer's job is to SHOW the fucking and Convince the reader that it was glorious without actually Telling them. You have to Seduce the reader into getting all hot and bothered, so they come out of the book thinking; "Wow that turned me on so much... It must have been glorious!"

You DON'T need blocks of descriptive text to get your point across, but the reader CANNOT see what the writer is trying to show them -- pictures or feelings -- without descriptive cues, preferably Sneaky descriptive cues.

No one likes to be pummeled. We prefer to be, enticed, tempted, and seduced -- not assaulted. A handful of well-placed descriptive words sprinkled here and there, really enriches an otherwise blank blue-screen imagination, without beating the reader over the head.

So HOW do you do just that? Go here: Tricks for Writing DESCRIPTION Read that.

-- You read the linked essay right? Good! Now how would you describe that picture at the top of the page? Can you make me FEEL the Passion?

DISCLAIMER: As with all advice, take what you can use and throw out the rest. As a multi-published author, I have been taught some fairly rigid rules on what is publishable and what is not. If my rather straight-laced (and occasionally snotty,) advice does not suit your creative style, by all means, IGNORE IT.

Morgan Hawke
Purveyor of fine Smut.
DarkErotica.Net ~ My Website
DarkErotica Blog ~ My Writers' blog

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Albert Einstein

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