Descriptive Language

Use this forum to discuss the April 2018 Book of the Month, "Ironbark Hill" by Jennie Linnane
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holsam_87
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Re: Descriptive Language

Post by holsam_87 » 28 Apr 2018, 17:24

NRoach wrote:
27 Apr 2018, 08:57
holsam_87 wrote:
26 Apr 2018, 23:35
NRoach wrote:
26 Apr 2018, 07:29


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.
That could be it. However, if the author has more books, I would be interested to see how she writes them to make a comparison.
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Post by Alex Hughes » 29 Apr 2018, 10:56

I admire writing that is highly descriptive, though some authors can achieve this some can't. Its a talent maybe.
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Post by Isabelleva » 04 May 2018, 07:27

I really appreciate flowery, beautiful language but it can be hard to wade through. To me, it works best when the author uses a good mix of both flowery language and simple. A nice blend goes a long way in making a piece beautiful without bogging it down and making it hard to wade through. A piece should flow so that you're not stopping after every sentence to try and figure out what it meant. Sometimes a lot of flowery description works though, I think it depends on the plot.

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Post by Snowflake » 04 May 2018, 20:00

It was interesting reading everyone's take on this. I agree with the idea that, in general, the descriptions should be true to what the characters would notice themselves.
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Post by Tamorie21 » 07 May 2018, 22:57

I'm a sucker for description, especially if it is done well and can leave me at awe while the flow of reading remains constant. If the description doesn't lead to long, drawn-out paragraphs, then I'm totally fine with flowery diction! I haven't read the book yet, but I will very soon after having read a very persuasive review. I'm looking forward to the read.

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Post by Faithmwangi » 08 May 2018, 04:21

Well i also agree that the author dived into descriptive writing,but this is what got me flipping page after page till i was done.I am okay with this particular style of writing.

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Post by Kathryn Price » 08 May 2018, 17:36

Usually overly descriptive language bogs the plot down, but I actually thought it worked quite well in this story. I'm a lover of classical literature, so I kept noticing all these verbs and adjectives - concertinaed, somnolent - that not a lot of authors use these days, and loving it because why can't all authors use such gorgeous words?

And the references to Australian animals and plants didn't bother me very much, because I reasoned that the book was probably written originally for an Australian audience, in which case no description would be needed. American authors don't usually feel they have to describe grizzly bears or Death Valley if they're not important to the story, so it doesn't bother me if the author didn't describe kookaburras in great detail. That's what Google is for!
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Post by Mr Justin » 09 May 2018, 05:13

It's worth noting that every writer has his or her own style just as Jennie Linnane demonstrated in her novel, Ironbark Hill.

Further, in literature, descriptive language should be used extensively in an effort to paint a word -picture. In this case, Jennie labored at length to capture his readers’ attention and sustain it by use of words that arouses feelings, and covey the meaning in the mind of the reader who is absent from the scene, but present via descriptive language.

I personally enjoyed reading the book as I stated in my review of the book.

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Post by Lgs1089 » 10 May 2018, 10:36

I would like to add that I did eventually become accustomed to the style, and I enjoyed the book. I think the overly descriptive language is probably attributed to the fact that the author is a newbie. The more she writes, the more she will start to pick up a natural flow.
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Post by SammiArch » 10 May 2018, 16:18

I personally love descriptive writing and find the more in depth a writer explains the better understanding i get therefore the more detailed of a picture I can paint. However, there are times where it can just be too much. Especially if literally every thing is always way overly descriptive.
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Post by Morganncall » 10 May 2018, 16:45

Descriptive language can be difficult to read and for many it can inhibit the want to continue reading a specific book, however, sometimes descriptive language is used as a tool to get the reader to slow down a little bit and really be in the moment. If there is something reall important, the author might write a difficult passage so as to force the reader to slow down, read it carefully, and then be able to understand it. I would reccomend enjoying the experience and asking yourself, "what might the author want me to get from this by writting it in this way?"
Hope this helps and good luck!

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Post by mrswoodlee » 11 May 2018, 23:47

Writers can get carried away. In my opinion, overly floral writing ("purple prose") is often, though not necessarily, the hallmark of an amateur. Rather akin to "over-compensating." I don't very much enjoy stark writing, either, although it at least has the benefit of letting the story speak for itself. As a writer I strive to stay in the middle, offering beautiful but clear language that doesn't distract from the story. Wordsmithery is fun and has its place, but when it's constant, it's exhausting to read.

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Post by joshfee77 » 12 May 2018, 08:15

The writing in Ironbark Hill does seem overly descriptive at times. I am definitely a fan of "quality writing", but too many adjectives can make sentences cumbersome to read. I find this becomes quite exhausting after a while. A good example of this in my own preferred genre (thriller) is the writing of Dean Koontz versus Stephen King. Koontz writes a lot of "pretty and polished" sentences dripping with metaphor, simile, and quality word choices showcasing his epic vocabulary. King, by contrast, dispenses with what you might call "literary wank" and just tells his story simply and effectively. He doesn't ever call an orange "a tangerine-coloured citrus fruit"; an orange is an orange. As much as I appreciate Koontz's writing talent, sometimes his books seem more like art than entertainment. I find I read King's books more often, mainly because his writing is easier to read. You are then gripped by the plot, rather than spending all your time marvelling at the author's vocabulary (which, let's be honest, isn't the point when reading popular fiction!)

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Post by Lgs1089 » 12 May 2018, 14:47

Snowflake wrote:
04 May 2018, 20:00
It was interesting reading everyone's take on this. I agree with the idea that, in general, the descriptions should be true to what the characters would notice themselves.
I completely agree. I do get that Natalie is an aspiring artist, and I understand that she sees the world differently. Once I adjusted to the language, it flowed. With descriptive language, the more it's used, the less powerful it becomes. I'm curious to see her future works.
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Post by Jbluestocking2 » 12 May 2018, 20:12

I loved the author's writing style and use of diverse vocabulary and descriptive language. But I do read a lot of classic novels and Ironbark Hill had a very similar feel to those. Many modern authors use a much more conversational, efficient style that has a faster pace. I wonder if our generation becoming accustomed to all things in sensory overload (video, tv, film) doesn't cause us to mentally object to that slower, more ponderous manner of writing. It does take effort sometimes to slow down and really think about what I'm reading, to enjoy the use of language as much as the storytelling.

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