Sensory Detail.

Firstly, I'd like to say that I love your work. I've read a ton of your novels and I always blaze through them because they read so fluidly. The way your writing catches me up in  its current and sweeps me along reminds me of being on a waterslide. 

My question: In my opinion, part of what makes your writing so great is the use of concrete sensory detail. For example, in the Obsidian Mirror series you frequently refer to heady scents when Summer is present, and describe the different textures of plants like mosses and lichens. When writing a paragraph of sensory imagery, how do you know how much is enough? Too much? I'd love to be able to write imagery like yours, but I'm always worrying that I'm including too much or not enough. 

Thanks for your kind comments. You are right in that I make a real effort to include all the senses, especially texture and scent, which is the most evocative. Nothing worse than reading a story that’s only seen through the eyes. It feels half empty.

Obviously you need to avoid overkill. The rule is the same as any other sort of description really- not too much, a sentence or maybe even just a phrase but whatever is there has to be powerful. Something like lavender, for instance is very strong..a language bomb- so just one mention of it is enough for the reader. So I would say don’t use paragraphs of description, just a sentence, not too many adjectives, just a few powerful words…lemon, velvety, metallic, icy…. they are all extremely good at causing the reader to feel exactly what we all know about how those feel/smell/ taste.

Having said that I get carried away sometimes…!

Thanks for your question.


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