Descriptive Language

Use this forum to discuss the April 2018 Book of the Month, "Ironbark Hill" by Jennie Linnane
User avatar
Alwaystkd
Posts: 35
Joined: 31 Mar 2018, 12:06
2018 Reading Goal: 20
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 10
Currently Reading: The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid
Bookshelf Size: 16
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-alwaystkd.html
Latest Review: Strong Heart by Charlie Sheldon

Re: Descriptive Language

Post by Alwaystkd » 12 May 2018, 23:42

Sometimes an author over uses words that take away from the sentence. I love descriptions that help us as a reader vision what the place or characters look like. But over using doesn’t add to a story but takes away.

User avatar
aks9120
Posts: 12
Joined: 09 May 2018, 20:27
Favorite Author: J.R. Ward
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 63
Reading Device: B00HCNHDN0
fav_author_id: 4145

Post by aks9120 » 13 May 2018, 00:08

I have not read this book but know exactly what you mean. It annoys me when there is too much description.i have a great imagination and that is why i like to read.when an author over describes, it takes away from the book and i tend to skip over some of it.i never skip parts of a story either.

User avatar
Dragonfly6
Posts: 37
Joined: 20 Mar 2018, 07:13
2018 Reading Goal: 24
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 12
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 35
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-dragonfly6.html
Latest Review: The Unbound Soul by Richard L. Haight

Post by Dragonfly6 » 13 May 2018, 02:34

I found the detailed descriptions useful especially because I'm not from Australia and therefore am not familiar with some of what she was describing. As far as the writing style and would Natalie have really noticed that much detail, I think the answer may be 'yes' to both. In addition to the author maybe writing in that style, there may have been the perspective that Natalie was telling the story from her adult self reflecting back. In addition, she had described in the story how, as part of her learning to paint landscapes, she was also learning to observe those kinds of details.

User avatar
Misael
Posts: 400
Joined: 16 Jan 2018, 17:12
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 41
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-misael.html
Latest Review: Scars, Scribbles, and the Power of Crayons by Lara Lazenby

Post by Misael » 14 May 2018, 04:01

There were times when a novel gets too descriptive I get lost in it and it tends to make me lose the real essence of the paragraph. Thus, the continuity of the feelings and emotions that I should experience is cut in the process.

User avatar
kjs237
Posts: 82
Joined: 20 Mar 2018, 09:48
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 4
Currently Reading: Sleeping Beauties
Bookshelf Size: 231
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kjs237.html
Latest Review: Roadmap to the End of Days by Daniel Friedmann

Post by kjs237 » 14 May 2018, 16:36

On occasion, I do find excessive description to be frustrating. If there is too much, it can really get in the way of the story. I don't mind it if it is necessary to the plot and its purpose is revealed as the story evolves. But I hate it when an author starts describing in detail the dimensions of a room or the type of material the drapes are made of if it has no bearing on what is going on in the plot. Recently, in a mystery that I was reading, every time a character entered the scene the author found it necessary to detail what the character was wearing. It became so distracting that I decided I could not finish the book and I gave it away. I mean, unless what a character is wearing is important to the plot or the atmosphere of the story, what difference does it make what they are wearing?

User avatar
sanjus
Posts: 566
Joined: 08 May 2018, 12:47
2018 Reading Goal: 25
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 56
Currently Reading: It's Easier to Dance
Bookshelf Size: 238
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-sanjus.html
Latest Review: Sigfried’s Smelly Socks! by Len Foley
Reading Device: B00I15SB16

Post by sanjus » 15 May 2018, 03:39

The author may some time may be little more descriptive than what would be optimal. It may be that, they are caught up in a doubt whether the sentences are portraying the picture fully or not.
life is only knowing the unknown, we can do this by reading books easily

User avatar
Lgs1089
Posts: 120
Joined: 04 Apr 2018, 21:55
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 28
Favorite Book: The Buried Secrets of Peonies
Currently Reading: Of Illusions and Ink Spills
Bookshelf Size: 131
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-lgs1089.html
Latest Review: Long Distance Flyer, G-EBFO. ISBN 978-1-78222-456-3 by Kenneth T Ward
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by Lgs1089 » 15 May 2018, 12:32

Jbluestocking2 wrote:
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.
That's an excellent point.
L.G. Stewart
"Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together." :wine:

Tbunde5
Posts: 191
Joined: 10 Mar 2018, 07:37
2018 Reading Goal: 30
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 76
Favorite Book: A Column of Fire
Currently Reading: Illustrated Short Fiction of William H. Coles: 2000-2016
Bookshelf Size: 33
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-tbunde5.html
Latest Review: Kamel by Charles J Haubner III

Post by Tbunde5 » 17 May 2018, 21:40

I have read quite a few books by new authors with this problem. I know from my creative writing classes that writers are encouraged to use descriptive language to paint a picture for the reader. But sometimes a chair is just a chair.

User avatar
maggiechap
Posts: 246
Joined: 18 Feb 2018, 19:32
2018 Reading Goal: 10
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 280
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 61
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-maggiechap.html
Latest Review: The Cult Next Door by Elizabeth R. Burchard, Judith L. Carlone

Post by maggiechap » 18 May 2018, 11:22

I actually fell in love with her writing because of this. I thought it was just enough description told in unique language that didn't feel cliched or ambiguous as is a problem for most authors.

User avatar
AnnaKathleen
Posts: 154
Joined: 13 Feb 2018, 20:16
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 61
Currently Reading: Jealousy
Bookshelf Size: 102
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-annakathleen.html
Latest Review: Falling to Pieces by E.L Green

Post by AnnaKathleen » 18 May 2018, 11:31

Tbunde5 wrote:
17 May 2018, 21:40
I have read quite a few books by new authors with this problem. I know from my creative writing classes that writers are encouraged to use descriptive language to paint a picture for the reader. But sometimes a chair is just a chair.
I love descriptive language, but I have to agree. Sometimes it is just too much. There is a difference between painting a picture and being redundant or long-winded.
"I became darkness, shadow and wind." - Sarah J. Maas A Court of Mist and Fury

User avatar
Lolo Skyooz
Posts: 36
Joined: 05 Apr 2018, 01:14
Currently Reading: The Haunting of Hill House
Bookshelf Size: 12
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-lolo-skyooz.html
Latest Review: Demon Freaks by J.R.R.R. (Jim) Hardison
Reading Device: B00GDQDRPK

Post by Lolo Skyooz » 18 May 2018, 16:33

Yeah, I think she was going for a classic Romantic style, so the tendency toward adjectives can seem requisite in that style. Personally, I think that if you're writing in a Romantic style, it's better to focus on how and where you use adjectives and adverbs than to just use a ton of them. Still, I was able to get into the prose of this book too.

User avatar
Roggyrus
Posts: 258
Joined: 06 Jan 2018, 01:17
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2017 Reading Goal: 0
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 16
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 115
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-roggyrus.html
Latest Review: Chrome Mountain by Ben Schneider

Post by Roggyrus » 21 May 2018, 22:42

The purpose of writing is to communicate. When you convey ideas, there is no more question as to the method if you used less or you used more, as long as the act is done. If overly descriptive? Then, the next book may be so barrenly dry. We have variety. (just kidding, I think you are right.)

User avatar
Lgs1089
Posts: 120
Joined: 04 Apr 2018, 21:55
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 28
Favorite Book: The Buried Secrets of Peonies
Currently Reading: Of Illusions and Ink Spills
Bookshelf Size: 131
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-lgs1089.html
Latest Review: Long Distance Flyer, G-EBFO. ISBN 978-1-78222-456-3 by Kenneth T Ward
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by Lgs1089 » 22 May 2018, 09:18

maggiechap wrote:
18 May 2018, 11:22
I actually fell in love with her writing because of this. I thought it was just enough description told in unique language that didn't feel cliched or ambiguous as is a problem for most authors.
I definitely agree that the language was original and not ambiguously cliched but, at times, it just seemed that the author was trying a little too hard. It was almost as if she had a tight grasp on a thesaurus the entire time she was writing. I didn't find it terrible but, sometimes, less is more.
L.G. Stewart
"Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together." :wine:

User avatar
kastle
Posts: 104
Joined: 23 Jan 2018, 02:01
2018 Reading Goal: 10
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 60
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 18
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kastle.html
Latest Review: Going to Wings by Sandra Worsham

Post by kastle » 22 May 2018, 17:12

I like description in books, especially lengthy ones. So I don't think they were too descriptive at all! The more you can taste, touch, feel what the author is trying to get across the better you can try understanding the book.

User avatar
Lgs1089
Posts: 120
Joined: 04 Apr 2018, 21:55
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 28
Favorite Book: The Buried Secrets of Peonies
Currently Reading: Of Illusions and Ink Spills
Bookshelf Size: 131
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-lgs1089.html
Latest Review: Long Distance Flyer, G-EBFO. ISBN 978-1-78222-456-3 by Kenneth T Ward
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Post by Lgs1089 » 22 May 2018, 19:18

kastle wrote:
22 May 2018, 17:12
I like description in books, especially lengthy ones. So I don't think they were too descriptive at all! The more you can taste, touch, feel what the author is trying to get across the better you can try understanding the book.
I've thought a lot about why the descriptive language bothered me. After re-reading several passages, I figured out a more specific "why." There's an overuse of descriptive adjectives. Sometimes the author chose to use 2+ adjectives to modify the noun, but both descriptive words shared the same meaning. Other times, there were adjectives used to describe actions, as a result, the descriptive language took away from the action itself. For instance:

"satisfied smirk"
"protracted leisure"
"cheerful, sanguine old fellow"
"glancing briefly"
"With startling suddenness, Slim let out a blast of alerting barks..."
L.G. Stewart
"Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together." :wine:

Post Reply

Return to “Discuss "Ironbark Hill" by Jennie Linnane”