I have to be honest. When I read, I tend to skim around the descriptions and focus on dialogue and characters. I like reading about the relationships between characters, and following the plot, so if the descriptions are relevent to that, I try to take my time. But if not, I glaze over it to get to what I feel is the ‘good stuff’.
Which is why, when I write my own stories (including my current WIP), my descriptions are lacking. Severely. I have to work extra hard to make the setting pop, the descriptions personal to the characters, even though I know what the characters look like, where they are, and how they’re interacting with their surroundings. The images in my head are blurry at best, and they don’t always translate well onto paper for me.
This wasn’t something I noticed immediately. It wasn’t until my recent writing workshop, where I studied my peer’s writing styles that I really understood why we all write different, and exactly how reading affects our style. Have you ever noticed that too? If you like to read comedic writing, and maybe even watch a lot of funny shows, does you’re writing tend to be more humorous? Or if your more of a horror movie watcher, is there a deeper, darker tone to your stories?
Along with this, I’ve also noticed that what I’m doing around the time I’m writing also affects my style too. Such as the long period of time when I was on an anime watching binge, and suddenly, all of my stories had weird dramatic actions that didn’t realistically make sense. So while the imagery was cool and interesting, the logistics were way off.
Characters were getting stabbed left and right, bleeding like crazy and coughing up blood, yet still fighting like it was only a scratch. And I didn’t have a magical reason for it. Explosions would go off randomly, and fire tears down the houses in cool yet odd ways, then someone reminds me that yes, fire gives off smoke when it’s burning something, or you can’t stab a solid wooden door without serious strength behind that thrust, or my favorite question, if the room is dark, how can they see each other, and no a sliver of light isn’t enough to help (I had huge conversation many technical things like these…). In my post anime mind, it all made sense. If someone has a question about it, the answer was always something like, ” Well, it’s magic, so, yeah.”
That doesn’t cut it.
From now on, I’ll try my best to read a bit slower, and take my time through the journey of the story. I’ll try, if only knowing that it’ll help my writing in the long run. I need to work on descriptions and setting the most, and how can I do that if I never read about them, if I don’t have any references?
So tell me, what do you focus on? Are you a fast reader, like me, skimming for the action and juicy dialogue? Or do you take your time to absorb all the words, slowly and surely so that the story lasts as long as possible? And how do you think it affects your writing?
Let me know~