Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Action or Description?

    I’m a word nerd. I adore analogies, metaphors, beautiful, poetic language. Take a look at these:

    “Autumn in the Lowcountry of South Carolina is usually as slow and sweet as tawny port, and just as sleepily intoxicating.”  Saltwater Creek by Anne Rivers Siddons


     “Rain fell like tiny silver teardrops from the tired sky. Somewhere behind a bank of clouds lay the sun, too weak to cast a shadow on the ground below.” On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah


     I admire writers like these whose pens seem to spill out onto the page with the perfect word or a phrase that turns a mundane description into a work of art. But some readers argue that it slows things down too much. They want a fast pace, skip the description, and get to the action. And that’s okay. We all like different things.


    Which one are you? Do you enjoy plenty of figurative language in books? Or would you rather skip the descriptions and get on with the action?




15 comments:

  1. I love beautiful descriptive language used sparingly. That said, can you point me in the direction of those readers who prefer not to read descriptions? I tend to avoid including any to the point my editor sometimes had to ask me add some. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm like you. Love a well turned phrasing of description. Love it even more if it reads like action. Instead of reading a description of flowerpots on the porch steps, I'd rather see them bounce when an angry character stomps up the steps.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love description used for effect but I want the action.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love a great description that resonates. They are tasty morsels to savor. On the other hand, when the action is high, I'd rather get on with the story.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anne Rivers Siddons has always been one of my favorites.

    I love a great passage like those you mentioned, Linda. But if description gets too long, I start skimming. So I guess I like a mix. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I do enjoy description and mood setting.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I enjoy great description, so long as it's succinct. I read a book once where the author took two paragraphs to describe the inside of a bar when smoke-filled and neon beer logos would have done it for me. Instead, I skipped those paragraphs, eager to get back to the story.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Mostly action, but I do like some description, enough to ground me in the moment.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm going for action although I do admire writers who can create beautiful word pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm visually oriented and like descriptions because they help ground me in the scene, but I prefer to have them sprinkled in as they relate to the story.

    ReplyDelete
  11. LOL, depends on the writer. I'm more likely to enjoy the discriptive in a first person. In third person, unless it's really well down, it feels so narrative.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think it depends on the story and it's pacing. When things slow down I love a good description that makes me look at things differently. That said, there are some authors who can even make action descriptive. For me it's all about pulling me into the world.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Those are beautiful examples of evocative writing. I'm with some of the others, I like them used sparingly or I get distracted.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I like action and all the better when they choose just the right word or turn of phrase to convey the mood, or as Margaret said, for effect.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm with you, Linda. I love beautiful words, and I love that you have quoted these wonderful lines. Thank you for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete