on detail


2006-3-30

My favorite writer of flash-fiction, Bruce Holland Rogers muses about the right level of detail on his blog: "[I] aim to give the reader just enough to collaboratively imagine the scene without making mistakes. That is, I don't want the reader to think of a particular locomotive as painted black if I'm later going to mention its red and green livery. But if color doesn't matter one way or the other, I'm probably going to leave it out.
When I was working on Ashes of the Sun, the editors asked me to put in more descriptions. It felt to me like adding an unnecessary barrier between the reader and the experience. If the reader wants more detail, let the reader imagine it. That's what I thought."

Yeah. Now I know why I like his writing so much. It's an approach I find myself striving for im my own writing too. Give enough detail to not mislead or confuse later. But leave out what is not importaant.

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