The Importance of Description

I am an introvert by nature. This means that I spend a lot of time watching, observing, and contemplating. These traits mean that in my writing, I can be very detailed in my descriptions because the little things are important to me and that comes out when my pen hits the paper.

Descriptions are not important to everyone, but I can really get into a story when I know how the characters look and what the setting is like.

This is a short description that I wrote several days ago. Is it too detailed, or not enough?  What do you think?

The withered old man sat hunched over his desk in the cramped penny shop. At first glance, he seemed to be concentrating on the stack of papers in front of him, but a closer examination proved that the first assumption was entirely incorrect and that the ancient being was, in fact, sound asleep. His clothes were slightly rumpled, as though they were yesterday’s neatly pressed outfit that had merely been shaken out to become today’s presentable covering. His shirt sleeves were several inches too short and exposed his bony wrists which were attached to hands that were just as gaunt. His thin fingers were spread supportively on either side of his face and it was in this fashion that he slept.

How much description do you like in your reading? Very little, or lots?

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4 thoughts on “The Importance of Description

  1. I thought the description was good. Not too much or too little. But on the other hand, that was just a small snippet. That would work fine for the first impression of the man, if in that scene there was time for the character to observe all those things about the man. Not such a good scene for an action sequence, though. Also, if EVERYTHING were described with that type of detail, or everyone your character met, or every place your character go, I think that would drag a bit for me. It’d just be too much.

    But lecture’s aside, I thought that was great! 🙂 😉

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  2. I think your tone is really great, and I can definitely picture this man. On the whole, I take a less-is-more approach to description, but they may be just because I’m not brill at writing it myself. If you like description, go for it! George R. R. Martin is big on description, he spends pages on characters’ appearances.

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