I love to read. I always have. But am finding now that I'm writing, that we tend to get caught up in word count.
Yes you need to describe your characters and set your scenes, but do you really need to describe the mole on the right hip of her third cousin? Unless there's a certain significance to it. Do you have to have their agenda minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day? How much is too much? And how much is not enough?
When you pick up a book and it drones on and on, do you lose your interest, thinking to yourself, "They really didn't need all that" Can your story be told in 25,000 words compared to 50,000? How much is lost when you cut back, or add more? I guess the big question is, "How much do you put out there vs. how much you let your reader's imagination work?"
And once they read it will they remember it, or at least a part of it?
I used to read Romance novels when I was younger, now I write them and read other genres, but I can remember this one novel (I read it like 20 years ago) well the basic outline of it, as if I read it last week.
It was a Harlequin novel, I have no idea who wrote it (and that's the sad part, but I have always been terrible with names) but it has stuck in my head and I wanted to share just the basic plot of it with you and we will see if I can keep it short, I don't know I get kind of wordy sometimes.
This is what I remember;
There was a count, duke, whatever (See, what he was didn't make an impression on me) He lived in a big castle. (Where? I don't remember) He had been injured and had lost his sight temporarily or at least they hoped it was only temporarily. So a young, overweight, plain looking woman was hired to take care of him. All the mirrors had been removed and placed in the basement. (Still don't know why, because his eyes were bandaged and he couldn't look in them anyway) She had low self esteem and he was a cranky person with the attitude of "Why me?" Kind of like "Beauty and the Beast" Anyway, every night after he fell asleep she went down and went skinny dipping in the pool and over time she had to take in her clothes so they would fit. Now remember there are no mirrors to look into. Over the course of let's say six months, he was falling in love with her. She was kind and caring. Something he had never experienced before. So on the day the bandages were to be removed she didn't want him to see her, in her mind she was fat and ugly. So when they removed the bandages and he could see, she wasn't in the room and he went searching through the castle looking for her. Finding her, she told him he didn't want to see her, because she was ugly and not good enough for him and he took her down to the basement where the mirrors were and made her look in the mirror at her own reflection and she was beautiful. She was in great shape from the nightly swims, and her hair and skin glowed from eating right and on and on...
I am looking at this from a reader's point of view and not the writer's point of view.
Put yourself in your reader's shoes for a minute...
How much is too much and what will they remember?
Hopefully they won't be like me and forget who wrote the book.
Just a last note check out http://www.genreality.net/its-all-about-the-details, I think their blog post works well with mine today!