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– 10 – - Description

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2022

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Summary

The difference between literary language and flowery prose. Checking adjectives and adverbs are really doing a job. Detail implies significance: description needs a reason. Description should produce an effect rather than draw attention to itself as an effect. Why clichés endure – and why we should beware them. Metaphors and similes – keeping them real. The debate over modifiers. Muscular verbs. All description comes from a particular standpoint. Describing place. When detail is relevant and how much is too much. Chekhov’s gun. Telling details. Showing instead of telling.

‘We all know, deep in our egotistical little hearts, when we have written something that has no function in the text other than to show off what good writers we think we are. We have at this point stopped communicating with the reader and are being self-indulgent: we have stopped doing our job and are doing something else.’

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The Book You Need to Read to Write the Book You Want to Write
A Handbook for Fiction Writers
, pp. 184 - 207
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Description
  • Sarah Burton, Jem Poster
  • Book: The Book You Need to Read to Write the Book You Want to Write
  • Online publication: 17 February 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009072571.011
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  • Description
  • Sarah Burton, Jem Poster
  • Book: The Book You Need to Read to Write the Book You Want to Write
  • Online publication: 17 February 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009072571.011
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Description
  • Sarah Burton, Jem Poster
  • Book: The Book You Need to Read to Write the Book You Want to Write
  • Online publication: 17 February 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009072571.011
Available formats
×