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Permlink Replies: 17 - Pages: 2 [ 1 2 | Next ] - Last Post: Jun 14, 2012 10:40 PM Last Post By: michaelraytaylor
jagkran

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Registered: 10/19/11
Question for fiction writers
Posted: Jun 13, 2012 6:30 PM
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Hi,

I am doing some fiction writing at the moment. My question is when writing a fiction scene, should it be detailed of exactly what is happening or should some of it be left to readers imagination.

thanks,

J
42rthomas

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Re: Question for fiction writers
Posted: Jun 13, 2012 6:37 PM   in response to: jagkran in response to: jagkran
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Much of that choice depends on your style of writing. If you prefer to delve into every detail, be consistent with how you tell the story. But your detail should not be just "fluff".
That being said, some scenes require more detail, some do not. I guess there's no real answer to that question. You also risk slowing down a story or turning some readers off with what they might think is excessive filler.
andresanthomas

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Re: Question for fiction writers
Posted: Jun 13, 2012 7:42 PM   in response to: jagkran in response to: jagkran
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Yes.
daysoldier

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Re: Question for fiction writers
Posted: Jun 13, 2012 7:46 PM   in response to: 42rthomas in response to: 42rthomas
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I agree with everything Thomas said here.

As for descriptions, I try to be a minimalist. My rule is this: Give them exactly enough detail to allow them to build a picture in their heads, then stop describing.

And like 42rthomas said, it should never be fluff. Don't spend twenty minutes describing the intricate carpet pattern of a hallway floor unless it helps the story.
42rthomas

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Re: Question for fiction writers
Posted: Jun 13, 2012 7:50 PM   in response to: daysoldier in response to: daysoldier
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You only find those types of carpet in a Vegas casino. Gosh I miss that place.
daysoldier

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Re: Question for fiction writers
Posted: Jun 13, 2012 8:15 PM   in response to: 42rthomas in response to: 42rthomas
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Never been to Vegas but the wife and I are hoping to go this year. It's part of our bucket list.

If I go, I'll be sure to write a blog about the carpet patterns. :)
oldblindog

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Registered: 03/14/12
Re: Question for fiction writers
Posted: Jun 13, 2012 8:36 PM   in response to: jagkran in response to: jagkran
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Hi,

I am doing some fiction writing at the moment. My
question is when writing a fiction scene, should it
be detailed of exactly what is happening or should
some of it be left to readers imagination.

thanks,

J


How much fiction have you actually read? Do you have a favorite author or genre? The way to learn "how to do it" is to read good work by other writers.

cheers

Terrance Aldon Shaw (TAS)
neckronn99

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Registered: 04/15/11
Re: Question for fiction writers
Posted: Jun 13, 2012 10:01 PM   in response to: jagkran in response to: jagkran
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Every word in every paragraph of fiction (probably non-fiction, too) has to justify its existence at that place by contributing something to what's happening at the moment or to the large story-- and you really, really should use only the words you need right then.

The suggestion to read and study your favorite brand of fiction is spot-on.
jrcsalter

Posts: 279
Registered: 07/25/11
Re: Question for fiction writers
Posted: Jun 14, 2012 1:13 AM   in response to: jagkran in response to: jagkran
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Having read Robert Jordan, I will say that is not the way to go. Describing every little detail just bogs the story down and at times grinds it to a halt. I don't know if it's the same with everyone, but I end up having so much information in my head, that I let the description slide and make my own up leaving the author's carefully thought out words redundant.

What I do is describe what the reader needs to know. I set the scene by describing the main things and let the reader fill in the blanks. What is important is to make sure the reader knows about a few things which will be important later. For example if some money is hidden in a vase on the mantelpiece, describe the vase, or at least make sure the reader knows it's there, at the beginning, or near the beginning, of the scene.
camellifolia

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Re: Question for fiction writers
Posted: Jun 14, 2012 6:07 AM   in response to: jrcsalter in response to: jrcsalter
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What I do is describe what the reader needs to know.
I set the scene by describing the main things and let
the reader fill in the blanks. What is important is
to make sure the reader knows about a few things
which will be important later. For example if some
money is hidden in a vase on the mantelpiece,
describe the vase, or at least make sure the reader
knows it's there, at the beginning, or near the
beginning, of the scene.

Yes. And as you write if you decide to find money in a vase that was not mentioned when the living room was first introduced, just go back and add a subtle sentence to the original scene that mentions the vase.

Continuity is critical, but if the reader isn't creating the story in their mind as they go, it won't matter. Do not over describe but don't leave everything out either - you have to find a balance that allows the story to flow.

One of my favorite authors used to go off on paragraphs of boring details. His stories were so good that I just skipped all that and picked the story up further on. But it would have been better if he had edited some of that out to begin with. (Robert Ludlum)

Kathleen
42rthomas

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Re: Question for fiction writers
Posted: Jun 14, 2012 6:50 AM   in response to: daysoldier in response to: daysoldier
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Vegas is a great place to do many things or nothing. In that sense it's just like going on a cruise. Too many people think it's all about the gambling. It's more than that. My wife and I usually go in the winter months, leaving Ohio and walking down the strip in the sunshine with only a light jacket or sweater on. After gray skies and gloom, that's a fantastic feeling.

I have heard the reason the carpets are made the way they are is so that they are so ugly you are forced to look up and guess what, you see slot machines.

Go and enjoy. It's a good time and you don't have to be decadent to have fun. :)

BT
jagkran

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Registered: 10/19/11
Re: Question for fiction writers
Posted: Jun 14, 2012 7:15 AM   in response to: 42rthomas in response to: 42rthomas
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Thank you everyone for the great answers.

J
inyun

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Re: Question for fiction writers
Posted: Jun 14, 2012 9:26 AM   in response to: jagkran in response to: jagkran
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Background: WIP called Assassin Brigade "Kill Sanction."

Roberto is a captured sadistic sexual serial killer who is about to be terminated by two lovely assassins. They decide to have some fun with him. So, we know what Roberto has done to his victims and I leave it to the reader to imagine his demise.

“Looks like friend Roberto needs a break, let’s take him into the room next door where he does not need to have so much sex.” Staci suggested.
As Roberto entered the room, he noticed that it was an exact copy of his play room in Brazil. He began to scream and the screams kept coming.

Thom
sargeking

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Registered: 01/13/10
Re: Question for fiction writers
Posted: Jun 14, 2012 11:12 AM   in response to: jagkran in response to: jagkran
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Employ the metaphor and simile and pay attention to the difference. Get really into it and ascribe to Jack Kerouac's "Essentials" number 13. Remove literary, grammatical, and syntactical inhibition.

Never forget number 29. You're a Genius all the time.
davidteves

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Registered: 07/05/11
Re: Question for fiction writers
Posted: Jun 14, 2012 11:32 AM   in response to: jagkran in response to: jagkran
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Always remember that there is more than just words going on here. There are feelings and emotions. You know the old expression, "He couldn't see through the forest because of the trees?" Your words shouldn't get in the way of the reader seeing (and feeling) the scene in his mind. The words need to be transparent. So watch those words. Use them wisely. Your readers aren't dumb. Sometimes they get what you mean in one word when you've written two.

David Teves
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