About Me

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A writer by predilection, an aunt by blessing and a friend by choice, Shelley has spent many years journaling before sitting down to draft her first novel. She has a B.A. in English discourse and is currently working on her third romantic-suspense, the title of which will be announced soon pending publication. Shelley is a member of the Romance Writers of America as well as her RWA state chapter of the Maryland Romance Writers.
"I love story-telling. It's a way to live an experience through the eyes of a character." - Shelley N. Greene

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


          I swear that there’s a psychic link between writers sometimes, this mental wavelength to which we all sync.  It’s especially helpful when authors share their problems and solutions. 

After a week of drafting I kept tripping over areas in my manuscript where the particulars were taking up too much space on the page.  Later that week I smiled when a fellow author in my writing group said that she had also been struggling with “too much detail.”

          I think everyone is familiar with this pitfall - "So-and-so walked over and flipped on the light." 

          Do we have to write that part?  Can I describe it without so much detail? 

         Those are the points when over-description creeps in and you-the-writer try to avoid bogging the story down.  The challenge is when and where to describe. 

In good writing there are natural gaps.  Spots where you-the-reader are not specifically told that something happened, but from the flow and diction you know it did without the author having to spell it out.

          Rolling the concept around in my head, I went to my personal Facebook page to find an example:

In an attempt to wean off Sbux I switched to their hot cocoa which is sans coffee. In a moment of experimentation the other day I asked for an additional shot of expresso.

Omgoodness. New favorite.

#defeatsthepurpose but #YUM

          Here you see that I had a hot chocolate, but nowhere did I say that I drank it.  The action is inferred based on the fact that I enjoyed it.  

          That’s the kind of good gap you want in your story.  A seamless transition where the reader knows it occurred without a whole lot of over-explanation.

          The gap between action and reaction is not really noticed because its exclusion keeps the story concise.

          On the flip side, too brief a description can come across as abrupt and clipped, leaving out viable information.  The mood of the scene plays into it as well.  If the scene is the action-packed culmination of the book, things are happening fast; there any added explanation may slow everything down.

It's tough striking the right balance, but with a little practice it will fall into place. 

Some unspoken actions are right where they need to be, in the space between. 

-         SNG   

1 comment:

  1. Ah, too much description. I find that's a common problem, and usually solved when one edits. Don't worry...it'll all come out in the wash. The reader will happily use their imagination to fill in the blanks.