Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Setting - How real is too real?

I was reading an interesting chapter from another writer recently and the thing that I noticed most distinctly was that there were a LOT of details in the setting.  Now I've read over and over again that writing details into your setting makes your writing more "real" and "believable".  That's great!  I want to make lots of details and put them all in right?  I would question that.

There's some truth to it of course, what book have you read that has no little details that betray the character's knowledge of an area or gives you a better understanding of a character through how they observe things.  But if you want to make a setting very real please, PLEASE don't feel the need to put in so many details (especially in a paragraph or a line) that the reader will feel overwhelmed.  I don't really care about details that aren't important or don't reveal something about the character.  I as the reader want to have an idea of the room or place that a person's in, I want to know about the character and I want to know about the situation.  To keep my belief in the story I also want the author to be consistent in the details they DO put in, but I don't want to hear about the minute changes in the colour green on a bush that happens to be in a clearing but isn't terribly important.

So how do you add details without being overwhelming?  Ask yourself this, "What does this detail reveal about _____"  Now you can add in scene or character or situation there (those are the main three that I can see) but if you put in a detail and it really has nothing to do with anything but your own amusement that's probably fine if you do it once in awhile.  Please don't do it in every sentence in a paragraph... let alone all throughout your story.  I ask this and point this out as both a reader and a writer...

That being said, I hope you're all enjoying procrastinating in NaNoWriMo!  I have predictably gotten a job in my desperate attempts to stress myself out to the max before I push through and write.  (Not too serious, but it does seem to be a pattern)  I should be stressed enough by week 3 to finish the novel... hopefully I will push through and continue tomorrow instead.  Happy writing!

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