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SubZero61992
April 26th, 2007, 05:13 AM
:eek: I think thats a good term to learn when writing, especially for newer writers who write what they see in their head without any elaboration for details.
And just in case you didnt get my point, it may take a thousand words to make a picture. :(

James Carmack
April 26th, 2007, 09:49 PM
God gave us word economy for a reason. We don't have to use a thousand words to make a picture, just as you don't have to use a thousand strokes to make a drawing. Might you have the occasion to do so? Perhaps, but just as art can be simplified and streamlined, so can prose.

In fact, while intricacy can be advantageous to some pictures, excessive verbiage rarely makes for good reading. Writing hinges on the imagination of the reader and a good writer can take advantage of the reader's imagination to fill in the blanks. Less is more, as they say.

I could demonstrate by comparing a ten-word description of a person to a thousand-word one just to make a point, but that's more effort than I'm willing to expend at the moment.

A lack of detail can be problematic, but in most of the amateur works I've seen, it's an overabundance of detail that's the problem. Just because they say a picture's worth a thousand words is no reason to stick to that exchange rate.

BrianC
April 27th, 2007, 06:45 AM
One of the people over on the Deep Genre blog said something once that stuck with me, and I paraphrase: what the reader can imagine is always better than what I can describe. I take this to mean that the writer should give the reader what they need to fill in the picture. Although there can be no hard and fast rule on how many words or details are needed, and every writer and reader will be different, this basic rule makes sense to me as a beginning point.

Hereford Eye
April 27th, 2007, 07:38 AM
One of the better battles to be fought with editors and critters: how much description is enough? For example, I have read at least a dozen reviews of James Michener's Hawaii that claimed Chapter 1 was pointless. I found it to be one of the finest pieces of writing I've ever encountered and it is all, every word, description. I don't think it was a thousand words but it might have been. IMHO, the book would not have been Hawaii without that opening chapter.
Then, there is the opening to LoTR which is all description and scene setting.
These may be exceptions but they certainly make for fond memories for me.

Jacquin
April 27th, 2007, 04:40 PM
One of the people over on the Deep Genre blog said something once that stuck with me, and I paraphrase: what the reader can imagine is always better than what I can describe. I take this to mean that the writer should give the reader what they need to fill in the picture. Although there can be no hard and fast rule on how many words or details are needed, and every writer and reader will be different, this basic rule makes sense to me as a beginning point.

Exactly!

As Stephen King says in On Writing, the more detail the author provides, the more likely the reader is having to constantly re-evaluate their mental picture. Just give them what they need and cut the rest...

SubZero61992
April 27th, 2007, 07:41 PM
Oh yeah... I've definately had to reevaluate my mental images because of details.

Bree
April 29th, 2007, 07:56 AM
:rolleyes: This thread reminds me of something

Oh yeh - ways to annoy your teacher. When they assign you a 2000 word essay stick 2 pictures on instead. If they question you, say "A picture is worth a thousand words, so I used 2."

Or you can paint a canvas one colour, like red, and tell them that the topic was such an emotional one for you, mere words were not enough to say what you felt.

:D

James Carmack
May 6th, 2007, 08:57 PM
As a teacher, I'd rake you over the coals for a stunt like that, Princess. After giving you a few bonus points for creativity, that is. ^_^

Rocket Sheep
May 7th, 2007, 04:54 AM
Don't you "haul" people over the coals? Raking over coals is something else.

Jacquin
May 7th, 2007, 05:12 AM
How about if you were to haul in a rakish manner?

Hake over the coals sounds quite good, especially if its washed down with a nice young muscadet...