Writing fiction is a passion of mine. The number one thing that bothers me while reading fiction of the lack of scenery and location.
Most beginning writers have not yet found the sweet point between a dark room and the room containing the soft glow of a candle sitting on an oak tabletop, next to an old pink leather couch punctured with countless holes within which reside various bugs ranging from the size of an eyelash to that of a quarter (One of which is named Fred by the way). If you leave your reader in just a dark room, your reader is left to imagine whatever dark room they have in their imagination. You may desire this, but I find I prefer transporting my reader to the vision I have within my imagination. I can’t do that when I leave my reader behind in a dark room.
The second most common mistake I see is quite the opposite of the first mistake: unnecessary descriptions which do nothing but bore your reader, causing them to either speed read through that which you have painstakingly written or just quit reading altogether. As a writer, this defeats your goal.
The best way to go about description is describing it to a person without sight. Give enough details to allow them to enter into your imaginary scene, but not so much that they will be overloaded. It is a fine line to locate, but once located you will find it easier to maintain your reader’s continued interest.
Now, let’s spend some time talking about more bad writing habits (you know, the things on paper that make you cringe when you read them). For example, when a writer is vague and describes something as “very large,” or they introduce a character and expect you to just know the character’s back story. You should just know it, man. Or worst, rambling because you can get away with it and you just can’t stop because that’s what you do (kind of like I’m doing right now). Yes, I like many others suffer from rambling disease. It is okay. You can recover. You will do better. you probably won’t read anything else that person publishes again, but you will have the experience of having read their work and having learned from their mistakes. Regarding all of the above, my only suggestion is STOP IT.
In my future posts, I plan on doing a couple different things. Some will be reviews on books, short stories, and other ramblings that I am reading. Another will be that of random writing problems I find in my visual travels. Of which I mean, if I see someone writes something and I feel it is stupid I will most likely comment on it (without referencing the author or work directly, as I am not here to embarrass anybody just to help others learn from common mistakes). Keep in mind, your writing may suck today but tomorrow, it may not. This is one of the beauties of writing. You have control. Regardless of your run on sentences or your horrible verbiage. Take that control and do better next time. With that…
May you describe something I can see,