Descriptive Language

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

Post by Aphroditelaughs » 23 Apr 2018, 00:06

Lgs1089 wrote:
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.
I often find myself writing this way. I want all the words needed to make my point. When I edit, I have to take out so many words and try to find better ways of phrasing things. It does get really distracting. While some authors neglect the descriptive writing, leaving the scene a bit bare, others put in too much and make readers slog through to the action. It brings home what a balance fine writing is!

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Post by Kendra M Parker » 23 Apr 2018, 15:17

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 completely agree that characterization and point of view goes along so closely with the descriptive language. My favorite books are the ones where the character viewpoints are incorporated into the descriptions. If a character is obsessed with fashion, he doesn’t notice the landscape. If a character is a botanist, she might completely miss the lion that is stalking her until it is too late.

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Post by Human314 » 23 Apr 2018, 17:46

Yes, I completely agree. A good author is able to use amazing imagery in only a few words, whilst an intermediate one will use twice as many words. It is because of this that Shakespeare is such a good writer, it is because he is able to convey the beauty of what is happening and the emotion whilst still being able to fit it into ten syllables. And the reverse is true in this book, words are overused and the reader loses the flow of the text which ironically prevents the reader from imagining the world for themselves.

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Post by AmySmiles » 24 Apr 2018, 13:26

Over description sometimes gets on my nerves. It drags out the book unnecessarily and takes away from my concentration of what is actually going on. If the author does it well though it can be better than watching a movie.
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Post by Libs_Books » 24 Apr 2018, 14:06

On the whole, I thought the descriptions were beautiful - but just occasionally it occurred to me that the author might have made too much use of a thesaurus.

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Post by NRoach » 24 Apr 2018, 17:19

Richard Whitehead wrote:
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.
Unique isn't always a good thing; I've had some very, very unique tasting food in my time.

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Post by kwame1977 » 25 Apr 2018, 19:06

I sometimes find myself in a similar situation. Sometimes you need to relax and meditate. The language will flow naturally.

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Post by holsam_87 » 25 Apr 2018, 23:59

I thought at times that things were too descriptive, but that might just be the author's intention to write as vividly as possible. After all, isn't this Natalie recalling her past trauma with her stepfather?
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Post by NRoach » 26 Apr 2018, 07:29

holsam_87 wrote:
25 Apr 2018, 23:59
I thought at times that things were too descriptive, but that might just be the author's intention to write as vividly as possible. After all, isn't this Natalie recalling her past trauma with her stepfather?
The vast majority of books are, in some way, a character recalling traumatic events. Plus, I have difficulty imagining anyone describing their own trauma in this kind of language; not to knock it, necessarily, but it's definitely an affectation by the author rather than an artefact of the actual story.

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Post by Lee_Reads » 26 Apr 2018, 09:35

The first few chapters felt overly descriptive. It seemed that the author eased up on the description by the middle of the story making it easier to read. Overall I loved the naturalistic details. I enjoyed looking up terms that I did not know. A novel that teaches is pleasurable.

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Post by holsam_87 » 26 Apr 2018, 23:35

NRoach wrote:
26 Apr 2018, 07:29
holsam_87 wrote:
25 Apr 2018, 23:59
I thought at times that things were too descriptive, but that might just be the author's intention to write as vividly as possible. After all, isn't this Natalie recalling her past trauma with her stepfather?
The vast majority of books are, in some way, a character recalling traumatic events. Plus, I have difficulty imagining anyone describing their own trauma in this kind of language; not to knock it, necessarily, but it's definitely an affectation by the author rather than an artefact of the actual story.
That's true, I was more thinking that Natalie was just recalling it and her being overly descriptive comes from her tutelage under Mrs. Glover. I'm also betting that she has PTSD from her treatment, so even the most innocuous event could bring her back to her being beaten by Alex or almost raped by Dam Teagle. I know someone that deals with PTSD and moments of panic hit her at the worst times, along with migraines.
Samantha Holtsclaw

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—J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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Post by NRoach » 27 Apr 2018, 08:57

holsam_87 wrote:
26 Apr 2018, 23:35
NRoach wrote:
26 Apr 2018, 07:29
holsam_87 wrote:
25 Apr 2018, 23:59
I thought at times that things were too descriptive, but that might just be the author's intention to write as vividly as possible. After all, isn't this Natalie recalling her past trauma with her stepfather?
The vast majority of books are, in some way, a character recalling traumatic events. Plus, I have difficulty imagining anyone describing their own trauma in this kind of language; not to knock it, necessarily, but it's definitely an affectation by the author rather than an artefact of the actual story.
That's true, I was more thinking that Natalie was just recalling it and her being overly descriptive comes from her tutelage under Mrs. Glover. I'm also betting that she has PTSD from her treatment, so even the most innocuous event could bring her back to her being beaten by Alex or almost raped by Dam Teagle. I know someone that deals with PTSD and moments of panic hit her at the worst times, along with migraines.
That does make sense. My understanding of flashbacks as they happen with PTSD is that they're incredibly vivid, and this kind of lurid language could very much mirror that.

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Post by Erick Bixen » 27 Apr 2018, 12:49

Descriptive language gives the story a local flavor

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Post by Cristal2408 » 27 Apr 2018, 15:47

Even though the use of overly descriptive language is beautiful, it does make reading much harder. I think it helps to imagine everything the author is trying to transmit. It gets better the more you read from the realism literary movement, where it is very common.

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Post by Lundemelia » 28 Apr 2018, 13:44

I agree with this, too much descriptive language makes me bored and want to put down to book. We just want some speech!!

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