For not having written anything on WIP #1 since June 30th, I think I've made some great progress. I've received three full-novel critiques back and, while it needs work, the results have been very positive and encouraging. In fact, I was so elated yesterday at work that I had a hard time concentrating on the matter at hand--getting ready for the candidate orientation. I'm well into the municipal election season, and things are getting crazy at work. Not a time to make mistakes because I'm distracted; those kinds of mistakes can get me sued. *sigh*
But an issue I've been trying to deal with in my tale (and is something others have raised as an issue) comes down to how much I should leave to the reader's imagination. I've mentioned before that I suck at description. I'm learning, and I think I'm getting (a little) better, but it will never be my strong point. It's hard to describe something that your mind's eye doesn't really look at.
How to explain it better. My stepmother was wonderful at creating silk and dried flower arrangements. She could just grab a little of this and a little of that and in minutes have this beautiful creation. I realized I had a problem the first time I went to a flower display, walked around looking at different kinds of flowers for nearly an hour, and then left the store empty handed. The lovely creations that popped in my stepmother's mind were on vacation in mine.
Or maybe retirement, since they still don't show up for me.
I like to leave some things to the imagination of the reader. I will describe my characters somewhat, but I don't want to say too much. I like the reader to be able to fill in the blanks, so to speak. I read somewhere that one of the reasons the Bella character in the Twilight series is so popular is because it's possible for the young girls reading the book to superimpose themselves on her, to be Bella. I'm completely good with that. I just don't know if I'm good AT it.
I'm struggling right now with how much description to put into the physical, romantic elements in the story. I don't want my story to be a substitute for an aphrodisiac--unless it's the readers' own internal thoughts that are taking them there. If the readers prefer an image of a more chaste relationship, I want them to have that option as well. I just hope the creative juices for this aren't on vacation, when I start working on it in August.
How do you approach your description? Do you prefer more or less?