The Ninth Rule for Writing a Modern Novel

March 17, 2013 at 7:14 am

Avoid detailed descriptions of places or things

For the first time we have a rule that I really like!

I can’t stand huge descriptions of the background unless they are an integral part of the story. Personally, I’ve never been good at ‘painting’ in a background, whether it’s with words or anything else. Even as a child, if I was given a drawing to colour in, I would usually colour in the main characters and not bother with the background, because it wasn’t interesting to me.

Of course, some description is necessary, especially if the world your reader has been invited into is a completely alien one. In those cases, the writer needs to be sure that they provide a good picture of what the reader is seeing. But I don’t think we need to to examine everything down to the tiniest hair particle to communicate something like that. Not only will it make the book really, really long, it will also bore the reader!