Tuesday Talks: Does Too Much Description Kill A Story?


Hello Everyone! Welcome to Tuesday Talks with It’s Storytime with Van Daniker!

Tuesdays Talks is a Goodreads group for anyone who loves to discuss certain topics covering books, authors, libraries, book stores and so much more. Tuesday Talks consists mainly of Book tubers and bloggers, but anyone can join on discussions and can share their thoughts. We also encourage input from members on topics to discuss as well.

You can find Tuesday Talks here.

This week’s topic is: Does too much description kill a story?

My answer is yes!

This is a topic that I find hard to explain so I’m going to try me best.

I’ve come across books that are wonderfully written and the story is taking me on a wonderful adventure until the explicit sexual scene arrives. Now, it happens every now and then so it doesn’t bother me too much. What bothers me is when the author goes into extreme detail for pages on end. This also occurs not just one but many times throughout the book. When this happens, I tend to find myself putting the book down and never returning to it. That’s garbage and that’s not what I want to read about.

When  you’re world-building or talking about the environment, it’s important to focus on details, but only details that will help the story. Tolkien, for example, is an author that I tried to read but he focused on the environment while I wanted to learn more about the characters and the story.

Detail is important, yes, but unless it has an important part of the story, who cares what the character is wearing or what color her shoes are. Sometimes I find authors focusing so much on the little things that when it comes to the more important stuff like a particular setting that is important tend to be skipped over. Unblemished by Sara Ella is a book that I’ve read recently that shows this as an example.

Sometimes there is so much detail in the book that the wordiness becomes boring. Paralandra by C.S. Lewis is an example of this. Maybe if I started with the first book in the series I wouldn’t feel this way, but I felt lost. The author was great at describing the environment, but then events would occur and characters would be introduced and I was lost. Descriptions that are short and to the point are key and don’t overwhelm the story.

So the answer to the question of whether or not too much description can kill a story is yes. These were just a few examples that I could think of to share.

Now it’s your turn. Do you think that too much detail can kill a story? Which examples can you think of? Why and how did too much too description kill the story?


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