When is the description too much

Use this forum to discuss the June 2019 Book of the month, "Cynthia and Dan: Cyber War" by Dorothy May Mercer.
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When is the description too much

Post by greystreak »

I just finished reading Cynthia and Dan: Cyber War by Dorothy Mercer[/i]. I felt the characters were not given enough personality or physical attributes to make them interesting. I felt that the reader could not connect to the story due to the lack of information.
Then we read It’s hard to be a Vampire by Viktoria Faust where the details were so graphically intense that the book, in my opinion, was a disaster to read.
When is a book to graphic for you?
In my opinion, the writer can leave out the detailed sex scenes and foul language. I have been reading Nora Roberts for over 20 years and never have her love scenes been distasteful and the foul language is at a minimum. As J D Robb her In Death series, there is some foul language but it flows with the story. I do not get the feeling she adds foul words to follow the modern trend of writers today.

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Post by monikelldell »

In my opinion description becomes too much when it doesn't add to the story any longer. I think the best authors use description for a purpose and not just to fill space.

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Post by Storm+ »

Having just finished Dorothy Mercer's novel, I agree that the characters were not given much detail. I believe that there is generally a definite balance between giving too much or too little information about a character or setting. Although it can sometimes be difficult to strike that balance, I feel that, if the author must err on one side or the other, they ought to provide too much detail rather than too little. In other words, I would rather read a book that seems "too graphic" than one that provides few details.

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Post by MrunalT »

I guess most authors consider it intelligent to add minutest, and more than often inconsequential details. It is probably a way of building an intricate landscape against which the story can be superimposed. But ultimately it rests on the narration to not bore the reader with disturbing details or make the read too simplistic. For me, Arthur Halley books are perfect examples- they have several characters painted in thick colors, but that doesn't bore the reader, or put the reader in a challenging position to remember a great deal of information.

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Post by jahagen »

I think it ultimately is up to the reader on how much description they enjoy. Personally, I think that it's necessary as long as it adds to the story and helps develop characters. If it's senseless and unnecessary, then it bothers me. Like in the case of foul language and sex scenes, I have no issue with either of those things, when it works for the story. If it just becomes way too much, or the focus is too much on the language or sex, then it just takes me out of the book. But of course there needs to be enough detail to warrant those things and have them make sense within the story.

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Post by Nardeen G »

I think that if the main points of the character are lost in the description than the description is definitely too much. The description is just there to introduce you to the author.

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Post by mam_reader »

All the main characters involved in the plot have to be given a clear description of their physical attributes, backstory, etc. Especially, all the information that is needed to justify their actions in relation to the plot. Anything more than that, that does not contribute to the plot, or unnecessary information about tertiary characters is too much and just a space filler.

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Post by Helen_Combe »

I must admit, I don’t like graphic sex and violence. If it’s a genre where it is expected, then OK, I can avoid the genre. I think leaving things to the imagination is much better. The worst for description was The Lord Of The Rings where you weren't even allowed to imagine the blades of grass.
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Post by Areej Tahir »

Too much description is annoying when its just dragging the book, not really adding anything to the plotline

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Post by kristib44 »

I was always taught that the more you explain a character, the less you show their personality. I found a lot of exposition and using dialogue tags to explain who the characters were, but I still couldn't tell you anything meaningful about them; does Cynthia have a cat? A hobby? A dream? Does Sky? Who are they, really? And why do they love each other after a single one night stand? I felt that the characters were not fleshed out. There was a very two-dimensional quality about all the characters and I couldn't find one I truly 'knew' or sympathized with. Cynthia turned from kind of a bad @ss to a simpering little girl in the face of big bad Sky's personality - or what was supposed to be his personality. I'm still not sure what his motives are or why he wants to be with Cynthia. And what the heck does Dan have to do with the title??

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Post by Kate_But_Not_Kaitlyn »

I think a character has been described enough when I can accurately cast them in a movie. Do I know with a bit of detail what they look like? Do I know what their mannerisms are? How do they interact with other characters? What are their flaws/strengths? Lastly I think I need to know how they develop over the course of the story because if I don't they remain very flat.

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Post by Tester013 »

Gotta agree with you, explicit sex scenes aren't something that really need to be included in books that aren't erotica in my opinion. Discussing about sexual encounters is fine, but describing them in detail, especially in a book that isn't about romance and erotica is too far imo

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Post by SavannaEGoth »

I myself am admittedly a sucker for gratuitous detail. I enjoy having an author paint me a picture when setting a scene or describing a character. I love being able to imagine and feel things vividly as I read. However, it needs to be relevant to the plot or the main character's focus. Otherwise you're wasting time analyzing things that won't be relevant later and the book becomes comprised primarily of fluff.
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Post by Melchi Asuma »

A novel becomes too graphic when it is not interesting to read. When you enjoy a book and its graphic descriptions, it can almost never be distasteful, I think.

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Post by Tomah »

I felt like the book had too much information about odd little things and not enough about what really matters. For example, there's an entire paragraph about Cynthia's car that adds absolutely nothing to her character or the plot. It's not a huge deal, but this sort of thing here and there wear down the reader's patience and take away precious time that could be spent elsewhere. As for foul language and graphic details of sex and violence in general, that's much trickier and should be discussed on a case-by-case basis.

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