I was originally going to write about writer’s block, but I changed my mind last night.
The husband has been wanting to see Shogun again, yes, Shogun, that mini-series from before most of you were probably born. . Netflix had it, so we got it and we’ve been watching it one disk at a time.
Last night we were on disk 2, and it was the part where the main female character needs to teach Angin (Richard C.) how to speak Japanese. She explains to him how to make something negative in Japanese, how to make it a question, etc.
She then says that to speak Japanese you have to truly understand the Japanese. And honestly, after watching 5 mins of it, I remember more Japanese than months of my hubby trying to teach me a word here and there.
But, besides for that, I realized that so much of this episode that I enjoyed would be cut out nowadays. It would be edited out as “unneeded”. And in defense of some editors, it wasn’t NEEDED but it made the whole story deeper and richer.
So it got me thinking. How much description is too much?
My first book my editor edited out entire descriptions of areas of the city, telling me it was unneeded for the romance, but I felt that it let you know where she was, how the area made her feel, etc. I edited it out, because, what did I know? She was the experienced one. And she managed to train me to leave out most description of other stuff.
I have since realized/learned I need to put in more. That even though she didn’t like it, sometimes it DOES help.
But having said that, I will say that I have read some stories where description does go overboard. I read one story with 3 entire sentences about the color of the hero’s shirt. Oh, wait, they might have mentioned the texture/material, too. But the point still is that the author went WAY overboard in description.
So, what do you like? Do you like a lot of description? Very little? Do you want to know where the character is? Do you like descriptions of the area (think Kenyon and New Orleans)? Or nothing at all? Can you go overboard (ala James Fenimore Cooper)? Or is it never too much?