The two items in the title for this blog have absolutely nothing to do with each other, but what the heck. I believe in stream of consciousness. Sometimes.
Purely by accident, I discovered my web site is down. Hopefully, it'll be fixed and running soon, but sheesh...wish I were a web-designer techie so I could understand the lingo. I have a hard enough time with English.
Now for the more pleasant ruminations: description in fiction. We listened to an old Michael Connally (1996) on our road trip through the cornfields of Wisconsin, and I declare, I wanted to haul out a big red pen and start marking through whole paragraphs. Why do I care what Bosch cooked for dinner? I wanted to fast forward through the story like crazy to get to the action, the dialogue. Then I realized, I'm more accustomed to the current style, in which all that description is terse and truncated. As our society becomes more attuned to "faster is better," books have to keep up with that trend. Read an early Elmore Leonard, and then a new one, and you'll see what I mean. (I still want Leonard to write westerns again, sigh.)
My critique partner and I are in continual discussion about "how much description is too much?" I want enough to see the characters, where they are, and how it affects them in the context of the action of the story. I'm visually oriented, and when I write, I "see" what is happening. (Art history degree here...every piece of art tells a story.) But I've learned to write more and more dialogue, because that's one way to move the story forward quickly. I also think more people "hear" a story more than "see" it, as I do. While I adore Dean Koontz's poetic descriptions, I think it's because I just like his language. It doesn't advance the story, not every time he lapses into it. But he's the master storyteller, as far as I'm concerned, and as long as he writes those beautiful, emotionally descriptive scenes, I'm with him. Of course, I have to have my dictionary close at hand, LOL.