The Art in Writing

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

And words, skillfully put together, paint word pictures. 

Just how detailed should a writer’s word picture be?

Should settings and other descriptions be in-depth and intricate? Should they follow the example of realism, like the famous artists Jean-Francois Millet and Honore-Victorin Daumier and, thus create a word painting that “looks” real—like it would in real life?

Or should descriptions lend themselves to the more abstract, placing more of an emphasis on visual sensation, as did Picasso and Van Gogh?

My personal opinion, is that this is a matter of writing style— and as yours evolves, you will find that you prefer one over the other. 

But, remember:

Readers, also, will have a preference as to which authors they like to read. Some love to read flowing prose that uses up word count with lots of descriptive elements. Others may prefer minimal descriptive words, freeing them to fill in the gaps with their own imaginations.

Myself? Well, I find that I prefer to write—and read—somewhere in the middle. Give me enough description so that I understand the “big picture,” but not so much detail that it slows me down. I want to focus more on the action—the story—and let my mind fill in the descriptive blanks. I’m an abstract/realist.

Some genres may use more description than others. For instance, Fantasy and Sci-fi need more detailed descriptions because the writer is creating a world totally unlike our own earth. A large part of what makes those genres so interesting IS the description of the settings and characters in those alternate worlds.

Romance novels also use a lot of description because the reader has to find the characters desirable, so they will want to keep reading to find out if the “guy gets the girl” in the end. Thus, the reader must believe they are worthy of pursuing and being pursued.

So, should you paint your picture using a thousand words?  Probably not.

It is fun—also a challenge—to see how well you can describe something using a minimal amount of carefully-chosen words.

When you do this, you spark the imaginations of your readers so that they can actively participate in interpreting the word pictures you paint.

 

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Researching Genre Romance

 

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Shopping for the perfect valentine for my husband was an almost impossible task. No one card could have possibly included everything I wanted to say.

I thought about writing my own valentine, like we often did when we were kids.

That got me thinking about writing romance novels.

I was curious. Just what is genre ROMANCE?

Here’s the breakdown:

Historical Romance– story takes place in the past.

Contemporary Romance– story takes place in the present. (Humorous Romance and Romantic Suspense are often listed as sub-genres.)

Regency Romance- This is shorter than Historical Romance, set in the Regency period and emphasizes society and dialog.

Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal- These stories take place on other planets or in imaginary lands, or involve creatures such as pixies, ghosts, werewolves, or genies.

Time Travel Romance– Romances involving time travel.

Gothic Romance– In the past, this was a separate sub-genre, but currently most of these are being published as Romantic Suspense.

Romantic Suspense- Stories with plots involving drug dealers, serial killers, smugglers, etc.

REMEMBER: If you write in another genre, you will probably find that your story is much more interesting when you infuse your books with a little romance here and there…