Descriptive Language

Use this forum to discuss the April 2018 Book of the Month, "Ironbark Hill" by Jennie Linnane
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Lgs1089
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Descriptive Language

Post by Lgs1089 » 18 Apr 2018, 14:45

I am currently reading Ironbark Hill. So far, so good, however, is it just me, or is the language overly descriptive? If I isolate each sentence, the writing is beautiful, but at times, I'm stalled by the use of 2 or more adjectives modifying just about every noun. I'm not sure if I'm becoming used to the style, but it does seem to be getting better the further I get in this novel, but I'm curious to know other's thoughts on this particular matter.
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Irene C
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Post by Irene C » 18 Apr 2018, 23:16

It did seem at times that the author strained grammatical rules past their breaking point with her phrasing. It put a lot of mental load on me as a reader. I got used to it somewhat as I got further into the novel, but lots of sentences were still very dense with description. And often dense with mentions of distinctively Australian plants and landscapes I wasn’t familiar with.
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Post by prithaprithu » 18 Apr 2018, 23:50

Ironbark Hill is a flowing read. However, it seems to be a modernised version of Kipling classics but also in an aloof pattern. Also, it could be crisp which I think is the basic norm of writing a novel. I would be able to judge after completing reading. But these points are vital.

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Post by crediblereading2 » 19 Apr 2018, 15:11

Authors sometimes get so caught up, with the art of writing, that they tend to become too overly expressive, which is understandable.

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Post by PlanetHauth » 20 Apr 2018, 00:41

I admire writing that is highly descriptive and flowery, but only if it works well. If it's difficult to read and understand, then it's really just an overload on the brain, like has been mentioned. Being able to write well is a trainable skill, but being able to write flowery descriptions that flow and read well is a talent that is an artform. Some people can do it, most can't, in my opinion.

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Post by Vendlyss » 20 Apr 2018, 20:50

It is definitely sometimes a hard line to toe. I've read books where the author describes every feature of a field, and I nearly die of boredom. This also applies, what sounds to be in this case, overly expressing what should have remained mundane. However, if you're not descriptive enough, you have failed to paint an effective picture for your reader.

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Post by bb587 » 21 Apr 2018, 10:08

Irene C wrote: ↑
18 Apr 2018, 23:16
It did seem at times that the author strained grammatical rules past their breaking point with her phrasing. It put a lot of mental load on me as a reader. I got used to it somewhat as I got further into the novel, but lots of sentences were still very dense with description. And often dense with mentions of distinctively Australian plants and landscapes I wasn’t familiar with.
I strongly agree! The mental strain goes even farther with the dialogue. The reader has to switch mindsets between the narrative and conversations. I think it was meant to sound like Natalie was telling the story when she was older and to show just how much she has grown and developed. I think it went too far and the juxtaposition just made it hard to continuously read without having to stop and go back for clarity.

The mention of all the Australian plants and landscapes were especially hard for me. They were interesting once I knew what things were but it was hard to understand without stopping to do an internet search on everything. Most authors get around this by saying things like "oak tree" instead of "oak" the first time it's introduced.

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Irene C
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Post by Irene C » 21 Apr 2018, 10:33

Vendlyss wrote: ↑
20 Apr 2018, 20:50
It is definitely sometimes a hard line to toe. I've read books where the author describes every feature of a field, and I nearly die of boredom. This also applies, what sounds to be in this case, overly expressing what should have remained mundane. However, if you're not descriptive enough, you have failed to paint an effective picture for your reader.
I agree with this. “What should remain mundane” should also depend on the characters’ personalities, I think. Would they notice most of the scenery and appreciate it in such detail? Would they know all the plant names? Are those descriptions sort of part of their natural internal monologue?

I tried to give this author the benefit of the doubt because Natalie was a character born and raised in this rural setting. I thought a character like that would be more likely to know and look at everything in the scenery.
History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul. Lord Acton

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Post by onixpam » 21 Apr 2018, 15:00

I think the book is overly described, sometimes the author go to much further in descriptions, as you read the book you almost get used to this way of writing, but at some point, I felt lost.

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Post by Bettercallyourbookie » 21 Apr 2018, 22:23

OMG, yes. The descriptive language keeps the story moving so slow. It's hard to get through because it affects the pacing so much.

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Post by Richard Whitehead » 22 Apr 2018, 02:21

The author's use of the descriptive language propels the story forward and the flowery language also adds taste to the story.

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Post by Richard Whitehead » 22 Apr 2018, 03:35

The author's use of descriptive language gives the story a unique taste. No reader will fail to notice it.

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Post by strawberrysab » 22 Apr 2018, 16:06

Irene C wrote: ↑
21 Apr 2018, 10:33
“What should remain mundane” should also depend on the characters’ personalities, I think. Would they notice most of the scenery and appreciate it in such detail? Would they know all the plant names? Are those descriptions sort of part of their natural internal monologue?
You raised an excellent point. I, for once, love a very descriptive writing, but it has to describe the right things and respect the protagonist personality. The scenery should be described through Natalie’s eyes and I’m not sure she’d take note of all the naturalistic details.
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Post by melissy370 » 22 Apr 2018, 17:30

I have to say I loved the author's style of writing. This not my usual genre to read and the descriptive writing is what drew me in.

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Post by AlyLiv » 22 Apr 2018, 21:39

I did find some of the description to be a bit overbearing. I've run into a couple of books in the past that were like that and personally, it didn't get much easier to read with time. It does take longer than usual to read books like that, but it's sometimes worth plowing through it for the plot.

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