Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Descriptive Descriptions

Have you ever read a book and wished it were less descriptive? Like this: She got into the bright blue sedan with chrome hubcaps that sparkled in the sunshine like giant sparkling diamonds and rubbed her hands along the braided leather steering wheel with sweaty palms that oozed all over the rough leather of that round steering wheel all in black. The black leather upholstery was sticky in the summer heat and she could feel the leather stitches holding the dull black leather together digging into the backs of her legs as she placed her well-heeled foot against the gas pedal that also happened to be black with tiny ridges for traction pressing against the sole of her shoe which was, did I mention, well-heeled?

Sure, some descriptions are nice, but sometimes I find myself skimming until I find the action or the dialogue. Now, does this mean that I am a lazy reader, or is the author too indulgent? Sometimes I feel bad for skimming because I'm sure the author went to a lot of trouble to craft a captivating paragraph and I read maybe one or two words of it just to get the gist. It's okay to tell me it was cold outside, but to devote an entire paragraph to say just exactly HOW cold it was?  It seems a little much. A sentence would do: it was so cold it hurt to breath and the moisture in her nose froze her nostrils together with every inhalation....aaaaaand end scene.

1 comment:

Jane said...

I skip descriptions like that ALL THE TIME!