Talking Heads

Girlreading

Wench Pat present:

I usually try to write about my writing life on my personal blog, patriciarice.blogspot.com, but today’s topic seems to have a cultural slant, and I’m really interested in hearing the opinion of experienced readers.

Recently, I heard a new author complain that her agent advised her to highlight all the setting descriptions and characterization in her book, then whack out as much of the highlighting as possible, essentially stripping the pages down to dialogue and sex.  Now I understand how that might work for erotica, but this was an historical romance!

Have books come to this? Are we now writing screenplays and TV scripts instead of novels?  I’ve noticed a lot of the current “action” romances are high on dialogue and low on setting, and admittedly, there are historical romances with no history.  But I’ve been thinking those just reflected individual styles.  Instead, could talking heads be the latest trend?

I understand that we don’t need as much description as readers did in pre-television days. After all, we know what a sailing ship and an English country estate looks like in full Technicolor. So how much grounding in the setting do you need?  Bobble head

As readers, do you skim over description? What about a character’s internal monologue?  Do you need to see words inside quotes before you’ll read them?  Or do you skim down to the sex scenes?  I’m fascinated.  Tell me! 

135 thoughts on “Talking Heads”

  1. Interesting topic…I guess you would say that I am an experienced reader, been reading romance religiously since the 70’s.
    I will preface this with, it depends on the author and how well I know their writing. I have a tendency to skip over the sex scenes, especially if they go on and on and on. I must be a different type of consumer than what that agent knows, I have a tendency to skip the conversation and I love the inner workings of the character’s mind/s. When I started reading romance this was hard for me to do because a number of romance author’s wrote in first person and I really loathe first person.
    And, how can you become absorbed in the ambiance of the book if you don’t have descriptions of surroundings or characters or subtle interactions.
    I have noticed a difference in the erotic books as opposed to other romance books. There are exceptions to my following statement, but most of the erotic books I’ve read seem to be rushed, the writing doesn’t seem to be polished.
    Bottom line, I like good writing and you can’t have good writing if half of the components to the story are chopped out. Rant done.

    Reply
  2. Interesting topic…I guess you would say that I am an experienced reader, been reading romance religiously since the 70’s.
    I will preface this with, it depends on the author and how well I know their writing. I have a tendency to skip over the sex scenes, especially if they go on and on and on. I must be a different type of consumer than what that agent knows, I have a tendency to skip the conversation and I love the inner workings of the character’s mind/s. When I started reading romance this was hard for me to do because a number of romance author’s wrote in first person and I really loathe first person.
    And, how can you become absorbed in the ambiance of the book if you don’t have descriptions of surroundings or characters or subtle interactions.
    I have noticed a difference in the erotic books as opposed to other romance books. There are exceptions to my following statement, but most of the erotic books I’ve read seem to be rushed, the writing doesn’t seem to be polished.
    Bottom line, I like good writing and you can’t have good writing if half of the components to the story are chopped out. Rant done.

    Reply
  3. Interesting topic…I guess you would say that I am an experienced reader, been reading romance religiously since the 70’s.
    I will preface this with, it depends on the author and how well I know their writing. I have a tendency to skip over the sex scenes, especially if they go on and on and on. I must be a different type of consumer than what that agent knows, I have a tendency to skip the conversation and I love the inner workings of the character’s mind/s. When I started reading romance this was hard for me to do because a number of romance author’s wrote in first person and I really loathe first person.
    And, how can you become absorbed in the ambiance of the book if you don’t have descriptions of surroundings or characters or subtle interactions.
    I have noticed a difference in the erotic books as opposed to other romance books. There are exceptions to my following statement, but most of the erotic books I’ve read seem to be rushed, the writing doesn’t seem to be polished.
    Bottom line, I like good writing and you can’t have good writing if half of the components to the story are chopped out. Rant done.

    Reply
  4. Interesting topic…I guess you would say that I am an experienced reader, been reading romance religiously since the 70’s.
    I will preface this with, it depends on the author and how well I know their writing. I have a tendency to skip over the sex scenes, especially if they go on and on and on. I must be a different type of consumer than what that agent knows, I have a tendency to skip the conversation and I love the inner workings of the character’s mind/s. When I started reading romance this was hard for me to do because a number of romance author’s wrote in first person and I really loathe first person.
    And, how can you become absorbed in the ambiance of the book if you don’t have descriptions of surroundings or characters or subtle interactions.
    I have noticed a difference in the erotic books as opposed to other romance books. There are exceptions to my following statement, but most of the erotic books I’ve read seem to be rushed, the writing doesn’t seem to be polished.
    Bottom line, I like good writing and you can’t have good writing if half of the components to the story are chopped out. Rant done.

    Reply
  5. Interesting topic…I guess you would say that I am an experienced reader, been reading romance religiously since the 70’s.
    I will preface this with, it depends on the author and how well I know their writing. I have a tendency to skip over the sex scenes, especially if they go on and on and on. I must be a different type of consumer than what that agent knows, I have a tendency to skip the conversation and I love the inner workings of the character’s mind/s. When I started reading romance this was hard for me to do because a number of romance author’s wrote in first person and I really loathe first person.
    And, how can you become absorbed in the ambiance of the book if you don’t have descriptions of surroundings or characters or subtle interactions.
    I have noticed a difference in the erotic books as opposed to other romance books. There are exceptions to my following statement, but most of the erotic books I’ve read seem to be rushed, the writing doesn’t seem to be polished.
    Bottom line, I like good writing and you can’t have good writing if half of the components to the story are chopped out. Rant done.

    Reply
  6. I want it all—gorgeous description, strong historical background, sparking conversation, and hot sex. About the latter: I too skim it if it goes on forever. My mind will actually wander wondering about the practicalities and comfort of position.
    In my own writing, I have a lot of internal monologue—probably the kiss of death, but I can’t seem to help it.
    There are some books I’ve read when I’ve actually felt the author was thinking of the work as a TV show or a movie, and they wound up being things I wouldn’t read OR watch.

    Reply
  7. I want it all—gorgeous description, strong historical background, sparking conversation, and hot sex. About the latter: I too skim it if it goes on forever. My mind will actually wander wondering about the practicalities and comfort of position.
    In my own writing, I have a lot of internal monologue—probably the kiss of death, but I can’t seem to help it.
    There are some books I’ve read when I’ve actually felt the author was thinking of the work as a TV show or a movie, and they wound up being things I wouldn’t read OR watch.

    Reply
  8. I want it all—gorgeous description, strong historical background, sparking conversation, and hot sex. About the latter: I too skim it if it goes on forever. My mind will actually wander wondering about the practicalities and comfort of position.
    In my own writing, I have a lot of internal monologue—probably the kiss of death, but I can’t seem to help it.
    There are some books I’ve read when I’ve actually felt the author was thinking of the work as a TV show or a movie, and they wound up being things I wouldn’t read OR watch.

    Reply
  9. I want it all—gorgeous description, strong historical background, sparking conversation, and hot sex. About the latter: I too skim it if it goes on forever. My mind will actually wander wondering about the practicalities and comfort of position.
    In my own writing, I have a lot of internal monologue—probably the kiss of death, but I can’t seem to help it.
    There are some books I’ve read when I’ve actually felt the author was thinking of the work as a TV show or a movie, and they wound up being things I wouldn’t read OR watch.

    Reply
  10. I want it all—gorgeous description, strong historical background, sparking conversation, and hot sex. About the latter: I too skim it if it goes on forever. My mind will actually wander wondering about the practicalities and comfort of position.
    In my own writing, I have a lot of internal monologue—probably the kiss of death, but I can’t seem to help it.
    There are some books I’ve read when I’ve actually felt the author was thinking of the work as a TV show or a movie, and they wound up being things I wouldn’t read OR watch.

    Reply
  11. What a timely post, Patricia! I write historical romance and I’ve been thinking over this a lot. In the book I finished a while ago, I actually added a few sentences in copy edits to better ground the setting for the scenes. No one complained, which was good. But when I’m editing a first draft, I cut out a lot of description or internal dialogue, because I’m repetitive the first time around.
    For me, description of setting has to relate to character and conflict. Years ago, a friend in my writing group had just read “The Remains of the Day”, and he was astounded. “Every line was important to the story,” he said. “Every word developed the conflict.”
    I love description and character thoughts that do that, and I struggle to do that myself. It’s not that a heroine is wearing diamonds in her hair—why is she doing it and how does she feel about it? That’s what I want to know as a reader.
    I’m writing erotic romance for Kensington, and very spicy historicals for Dell. Sex scenes are an instance where I especially love well-written dialogue—the vulnerable, entertaining, character-driven things that get said. As for the mechanics, again, description has to be through the characters’ voice. For me, I’ll skim a sex scene that is a lot of mechanics and not much voice before I’ll skim brilliant description, or really spot-on internal dialogue.
    It’s interesting that the agent advised “delete”, when I’d think more about pushing myself to do it better, to make description more relevant. I love it when I can say in two accurate words what I’d previously struggled to say in twenty. So I’m a reader who is blown away by well-done narrative

    Reply
  12. What a timely post, Patricia! I write historical romance and I’ve been thinking over this a lot. In the book I finished a while ago, I actually added a few sentences in copy edits to better ground the setting for the scenes. No one complained, which was good. But when I’m editing a first draft, I cut out a lot of description or internal dialogue, because I’m repetitive the first time around.
    For me, description of setting has to relate to character and conflict. Years ago, a friend in my writing group had just read “The Remains of the Day”, and he was astounded. “Every line was important to the story,” he said. “Every word developed the conflict.”
    I love description and character thoughts that do that, and I struggle to do that myself. It’s not that a heroine is wearing diamonds in her hair—why is she doing it and how does she feel about it? That’s what I want to know as a reader.
    I’m writing erotic romance for Kensington, and very spicy historicals for Dell. Sex scenes are an instance where I especially love well-written dialogue—the vulnerable, entertaining, character-driven things that get said. As for the mechanics, again, description has to be through the characters’ voice. For me, I’ll skim a sex scene that is a lot of mechanics and not much voice before I’ll skim brilliant description, or really spot-on internal dialogue.
    It’s interesting that the agent advised “delete”, when I’d think more about pushing myself to do it better, to make description more relevant. I love it when I can say in two accurate words what I’d previously struggled to say in twenty. So I’m a reader who is blown away by well-done narrative

    Reply
  13. What a timely post, Patricia! I write historical romance and I’ve been thinking over this a lot. In the book I finished a while ago, I actually added a few sentences in copy edits to better ground the setting for the scenes. No one complained, which was good. But when I’m editing a first draft, I cut out a lot of description or internal dialogue, because I’m repetitive the first time around.
    For me, description of setting has to relate to character and conflict. Years ago, a friend in my writing group had just read “The Remains of the Day”, and he was astounded. “Every line was important to the story,” he said. “Every word developed the conflict.”
    I love description and character thoughts that do that, and I struggle to do that myself. It’s not that a heroine is wearing diamonds in her hair—why is she doing it and how does she feel about it? That’s what I want to know as a reader.
    I’m writing erotic romance for Kensington, and very spicy historicals for Dell. Sex scenes are an instance where I especially love well-written dialogue—the vulnerable, entertaining, character-driven things that get said. As for the mechanics, again, description has to be through the characters’ voice. For me, I’ll skim a sex scene that is a lot of mechanics and not much voice before I’ll skim brilliant description, or really spot-on internal dialogue.
    It’s interesting that the agent advised “delete”, when I’d think more about pushing myself to do it better, to make description more relevant. I love it when I can say in two accurate words what I’d previously struggled to say in twenty. So I’m a reader who is blown away by well-done narrative

    Reply
  14. What a timely post, Patricia! I write historical romance and I’ve been thinking over this a lot. In the book I finished a while ago, I actually added a few sentences in copy edits to better ground the setting for the scenes. No one complained, which was good. But when I’m editing a first draft, I cut out a lot of description or internal dialogue, because I’m repetitive the first time around.
    For me, description of setting has to relate to character and conflict. Years ago, a friend in my writing group had just read “The Remains of the Day”, and he was astounded. “Every line was important to the story,” he said. “Every word developed the conflict.”
    I love description and character thoughts that do that, and I struggle to do that myself. It’s not that a heroine is wearing diamonds in her hair—why is she doing it and how does she feel about it? That’s what I want to know as a reader.
    I’m writing erotic romance for Kensington, and very spicy historicals for Dell. Sex scenes are an instance where I especially love well-written dialogue—the vulnerable, entertaining, character-driven things that get said. As for the mechanics, again, description has to be through the characters’ voice. For me, I’ll skim a sex scene that is a lot of mechanics and not much voice before I’ll skim brilliant description, or really spot-on internal dialogue.
    It’s interesting that the agent advised “delete”, when I’d think more about pushing myself to do it better, to make description more relevant. I love it when I can say in two accurate words what I’d previously struggled to say in twenty. So I’m a reader who is blown away by well-done narrative

    Reply
  15. What a timely post, Patricia! I write historical romance and I’ve been thinking over this a lot. In the book I finished a while ago, I actually added a few sentences in copy edits to better ground the setting for the scenes. No one complained, which was good. But when I’m editing a first draft, I cut out a lot of description or internal dialogue, because I’m repetitive the first time around.
    For me, description of setting has to relate to character and conflict. Years ago, a friend in my writing group had just read “The Remains of the Day”, and he was astounded. “Every line was important to the story,” he said. “Every word developed the conflict.”
    I love description and character thoughts that do that, and I struggle to do that myself. It’s not that a heroine is wearing diamonds in her hair—why is she doing it and how does she feel about it? That’s what I want to know as a reader.
    I’m writing erotic romance for Kensington, and very spicy historicals for Dell. Sex scenes are an instance where I especially love well-written dialogue—the vulnerable, entertaining, character-driven things that get said. As for the mechanics, again, description has to be through the characters’ voice. For me, I’ll skim a sex scene that is a lot of mechanics and not much voice before I’ll skim brilliant description, or really spot-on internal dialogue.
    It’s interesting that the agent advised “delete”, when I’d think more about pushing myself to do it better, to make description more relevant. I love it when I can say in two accurate words what I’d previously struggled to say in twenty. So I’m a reader who is blown away by well-done narrative

    Reply
  16. I read a lot, mainly historicals, and I want well-written dialogue, setting and description, inner thoughts — all of which are necessary to well-developed characters and plots.
    As for the sex scenes, I generally skim right over them, especially those of the generic purple panting prose variety. If most of them were dropped, little would be lost.

    Reply
  17. I read a lot, mainly historicals, and I want well-written dialogue, setting and description, inner thoughts — all of which are necessary to well-developed characters and plots.
    As for the sex scenes, I generally skim right over them, especially those of the generic purple panting prose variety. If most of them were dropped, little would be lost.

    Reply
  18. I read a lot, mainly historicals, and I want well-written dialogue, setting and description, inner thoughts — all of which are necessary to well-developed characters and plots.
    As for the sex scenes, I generally skim right over them, especially those of the generic purple panting prose variety. If most of them were dropped, little would be lost.

    Reply
  19. I read a lot, mainly historicals, and I want well-written dialogue, setting and description, inner thoughts — all of which are necessary to well-developed characters and plots.
    As for the sex scenes, I generally skim right over them, especially those of the generic purple panting prose variety. If most of them were dropped, little would be lost.

    Reply
  20. I read a lot, mainly historicals, and I want well-written dialogue, setting and description, inner thoughts — all of which are necessary to well-developed characters and plots.
    As for the sex scenes, I generally skim right over them, especially those of the generic purple panting prose variety. If most of them were dropped, little would be lost.

    Reply
  21. I’m an old-fashioned reader and agree with Sharon that every word needs to forward the story in some manner, no matter how subtle. I don’t read erotica but it’s good to know that even there, the sex carries the story.
    And I’m really happy to know I’m not the only person in the world who wants it all. “G” But over the years, I’ve sensed reader impatience with too much of any one thing. Personally, I’d say one can have too much dialogue, but I assume that increases the pace? There has to be some reason books are moving toward screenwriting!
    (the sun just came out on our 8″ of snow and lovely drifts are tumbling from the bare branches)

    Reply
  22. I’m an old-fashioned reader and agree with Sharon that every word needs to forward the story in some manner, no matter how subtle. I don’t read erotica but it’s good to know that even there, the sex carries the story.
    And I’m really happy to know I’m not the only person in the world who wants it all. “G” But over the years, I’ve sensed reader impatience with too much of any one thing. Personally, I’d say one can have too much dialogue, but I assume that increases the pace? There has to be some reason books are moving toward screenwriting!
    (the sun just came out on our 8″ of snow and lovely drifts are tumbling from the bare branches)

    Reply
  23. I’m an old-fashioned reader and agree with Sharon that every word needs to forward the story in some manner, no matter how subtle. I don’t read erotica but it’s good to know that even there, the sex carries the story.
    And I’m really happy to know I’m not the only person in the world who wants it all. “G” But over the years, I’ve sensed reader impatience with too much of any one thing. Personally, I’d say one can have too much dialogue, but I assume that increases the pace? There has to be some reason books are moving toward screenwriting!
    (the sun just came out on our 8″ of snow and lovely drifts are tumbling from the bare branches)

    Reply
  24. I’m an old-fashioned reader and agree with Sharon that every word needs to forward the story in some manner, no matter how subtle. I don’t read erotica but it’s good to know that even there, the sex carries the story.
    And I’m really happy to know I’m not the only person in the world who wants it all. “G” But over the years, I’ve sensed reader impatience with too much of any one thing. Personally, I’d say one can have too much dialogue, but I assume that increases the pace? There has to be some reason books are moving toward screenwriting!
    (the sun just came out on our 8″ of snow and lovely drifts are tumbling from the bare branches)

    Reply
  25. I’m an old-fashioned reader and agree with Sharon that every word needs to forward the story in some manner, no matter how subtle. I don’t read erotica but it’s good to know that even there, the sex carries the story.
    And I’m really happy to know I’m not the only person in the world who wants it all. “G” But over the years, I’ve sensed reader impatience with too much of any one thing. Personally, I’d say one can have too much dialogue, but I assume that increases the pace? There has to be some reason books are moving toward screenwriting!
    (the sun just came out on our 8″ of snow and lovely drifts are tumbling from the bare branches)

    Reply
  26. From Sherrie:
    Pat, I was appalled re the agent who told the client to delete highlighted descriptions. I wonder if the writer was one who slows the pacing down with elaborate descriptions that go on too long?
    I love descriptions, especially if they fill in the scene. However, looong interludes of internal musing or unrelieved narrative can slow a story for me. That said, there are times when longer narrative or musing can be appropriate.
    One problem I see often with new writers is that they open a scene with absolutely no hint as to where the scene is taking place. You don’t know if it’s set in a high-rise office building or a root cellar.
    I’m a slow reader because I don’t want to rush a good story. I don’t generally skip parts unless it gets truly boring.

    Reply
  27. From Sherrie:
    Pat, I was appalled re the agent who told the client to delete highlighted descriptions. I wonder if the writer was one who slows the pacing down with elaborate descriptions that go on too long?
    I love descriptions, especially if they fill in the scene. However, looong interludes of internal musing or unrelieved narrative can slow a story for me. That said, there are times when longer narrative or musing can be appropriate.
    One problem I see often with new writers is that they open a scene with absolutely no hint as to where the scene is taking place. You don’t know if it’s set in a high-rise office building or a root cellar.
    I’m a slow reader because I don’t want to rush a good story. I don’t generally skip parts unless it gets truly boring.

    Reply
  28. From Sherrie:
    Pat, I was appalled re the agent who told the client to delete highlighted descriptions. I wonder if the writer was one who slows the pacing down with elaborate descriptions that go on too long?
    I love descriptions, especially if they fill in the scene. However, looong interludes of internal musing or unrelieved narrative can slow a story for me. That said, there are times when longer narrative or musing can be appropriate.
    One problem I see often with new writers is that they open a scene with absolutely no hint as to where the scene is taking place. You don’t know if it’s set in a high-rise office building or a root cellar.
    I’m a slow reader because I don’t want to rush a good story. I don’t generally skip parts unless it gets truly boring.

    Reply
  29. From Sherrie:
    Pat, I was appalled re the agent who told the client to delete highlighted descriptions. I wonder if the writer was one who slows the pacing down with elaborate descriptions that go on too long?
    I love descriptions, especially if they fill in the scene. However, looong interludes of internal musing or unrelieved narrative can slow a story for me. That said, there are times when longer narrative or musing can be appropriate.
    One problem I see often with new writers is that they open a scene with absolutely no hint as to where the scene is taking place. You don’t know if it’s set in a high-rise office building or a root cellar.
    I’m a slow reader because I don’t want to rush a good story. I don’t generally skip parts unless it gets truly boring.

    Reply
  30. From Sherrie:
    Pat, I was appalled re the agent who told the client to delete highlighted descriptions. I wonder if the writer was one who slows the pacing down with elaborate descriptions that go on too long?
    I love descriptions, especially if they fill in the scene. However, looong interludes of internal musing or unrelieved narrative can slow a story for me. That said, there are times when longer narrative or musing can be appropriate.
    One problem I see often with new writers is that they open a scene with absolutely no hint as to where the scene is taking place. You don’t know if it’s set in a high-rise office building or a root cellar.
    I’m a slow reader because I don’t want to rush a good story. I don’t generally skip parts unless it gets truly boring.

    Reply
  31. That agent described the sort of historical romance I hate, and only buy on special recommendation, or stupid error.
    To understand the characters and empathize with them fully, I need to have information about their lives – where they lived, what they wore, how they spoke, what they did all day, what they saw around them. Otherwise I feel I have stick figures being moved around in mist.
    I don’t think of that editor’s preferred style as any kind of an improvement for the novel. It’s being compared to a screenplay, and I suppose it works OK for David Tennant, acting against a green screen, because he knows a team of geniuses is going to come along afterwards and paint in an alien planet. However, as I read a novel, the BBC team is not inside my head filling in such details and although I can fill in many of them myself, I wonder about readers new to these books — how much could they possibly fill in on limited exposure? What mistakes will they fill in instead?
    I don’t like it. It’s more than a shift in style – it’s dumbing down, it’s assuming that readers are too stupid or too venal to put up with anything that isn’t a sex scene. I am against it.

    Reply
  32. That agent described the sort of historical romance I hate, and only buy on special recommendation, or stupid error.
    To understand the characters and empathize with them fully, I need to have information about their lives – where they lived, what they wore, how they spoke, what they did all day, what they saw around them. Otherwise I feel I have stick figures being moved around in mist.
    I don’t think of that editor’s preferred style as any kind of an improvement for the novel. It’s being compared to a screenplay, and I suppose it works OK for David Tennant, acting against a green screen, because he knows a team of geniuses is going to come along afterwards and paint in an alien planet. However, as I read a novel, the BBC team is not inside my head filling in such details and although I can fill in many of them myself, I wonder about readers new to these books — how much could they possibly fill in on limited exposure? What mistakes will they fill in instead?
    I don’t like it. It’s more than a shift in style – it’s dumbing down, it’s assuming that readers are too stupid or too venal to put up with anything that isn’t a sex scene. I am against it.

    Reply
  33. That agent described the sort of historical romance I hate, and only buy on special recommendation, or stupid error.
    To understand the characters and empathize with them fully, I need to have information about their lives – where they lived, what they wore, how they spoke, what they did all day, what they saw around them. Otherwise I feel I have stick figures being moved around in mist.
    I don’t think of that editor’s preferred style as any kind of an improvement for the novel. It’s being compared to a screenplay, and I suppose it works OK for David Tennant, acting against a green screen, because he knows a team of geniuses is going to come along afterwards and paint in an alien planet. However, as I read a novel, the BBC team is not inside my head filling in such details and although I can fill in many of them myself, I wonder about readers new to these books — how much could they possibly fill in on limited exposure? What mistakes will they fill in instead?
    I don’t like it. It’s more than a shift in style – it’s dumbing down, it’s assuming that readers are too stupid or too venal to put up with anything that isn’t a sex scene. I am against it.

    Reply
  34. That agent described the sort of historical romance I hate, and only buy on special recommendation, or stupid error.
    To understand the characters and empathize with them fully, I need to have information about their lives – where they lived, what they wore, how they spoke, what they did all day, what they saw around them. Otherwise I feel I have stick figures being moved around in mist.
    I don’t think of that editor’s preferred style as any kind of an improvement for the novel. It’s being compared to a screenplay, and I suppose it works OK for David Tennant, acting against a green screen, because he knows a team of geniuses is going to come along afterwards and paint in an alien planet. However, as I read a novel, the BBC team is not inside my head filling in such details and although I can fill in many of them myself, I wonder about readers new to these books — how much could they possibly fill in on limited exposure? What mistakes will they fill in instead?
    I don’t like it. It’s more than a shift in style – it’s dumbing down, it’s assuming that readers are too stupid or too venal to put up with anything that isn’t a sex scene. I am against it.

    Reply
  35. That agent described the sort of historical romance I hate, and only buy on special recommendation, or stupid error.
    To understand the characters and empathize with them fully, I need to have information about their lives – where they lived, what they wore, how they spoke, what they did all day, what they saw around them. Otherwise I feel I have stick figures being moved around in mist.
    I don’t think of that editor’s preferred style as any kind of an improvement for the novel. It’s being compared to a screenplay, and I suppose it works OK for David Tennant, acting against a green screen, because he knows a team of geniuses is going to come along afterwards and paint in an alien planet. However, as I read a novel, the BBC team is not inside my head filling in such details and although I can fill in many of them myself, I wonder about readers new to these books — how much could they possibly fill in on limited exposure? What mistakes will they fill in instead?
    I don’t like it. It’s more than a shift in style – it’s dumbing down, it’s assuming that readers are too stupid or too venal to put up with anything that isn’t a sex scene. I am against it.

    Reply
  36. I spend every day carefully attempting to create the right balance of action/characterization/dialogue/description, so I’m rather appalled at such cavalier approach to editing, I’ll admit. But as appalled as I may be, I have this nagging suspicion that readers want to be dragged by the scruff of the neck into the action. We no longer write the “dark and stormy night” openings (Woodiwiss did lovely weather and setting reports at the beginning of each chapter!). So it does seem the next stage might be the opening line “See if I go to bed with you again, Duke!” Her slap resounded around the bedroom.”EG”

    Reply
  37. I spend every day carefully attempting to create the right balance of action/characterization/dialogue/description, so I’m rather appalled at such cavalier approach to editing, I’ll admit. But as appalled as I may be, I have this nagging suspicion that readers want to be dragged by the scruff of the neck into the action. We no longer write the “dark and stormy night” openings (Woodiwiss did lovely weather and setting reports at the beginning of each chapter!). So it does seem the next stage might be the opening line “See if I go to bed with you again, Duke!” Her slap resounded around the bedroom.”EG”

    Reply
  38. I spend every day carefully attempting to create the right balance of action/characterization/dialogue/description, so I’m rather appalled at such cavalier approach to editing, I’ll admit. But as appalled as I may be, I have this nagging suspicion that readers want to be dragged by the scruff of the neck into the action. We no longer write the “dark and stormy night” openings (Woodiwiss did lovely weather and setting reports at the beginning of each chapter!). So it does seem the next stage might be the opening line “See if I go to bed with you again, Duke!” Her slap resounded around the bedroom.”EG”

    Reply
  39. I spend every day carefully attempting to create the right balance of action/characterization/dialogue/description, so I’m rather appalled at such cavalier approach to editing, I’ll admit. But as appalled as I may be, I have this nagging suspicion that readers want to be dragged by the scruff of the neck into the action. We no longer write the “dark and stormy night” openings (Woodiwiss did lovely weather and setting reports at the beginning of each chapter!). So it does seem the next stage might be the opening line “See if I go to bed with you again, Duke!” Her slap resounded around the bedroom.”EG”

    Reply
  40. I spend every day carefully attempting to create the right balance of action/characterization/dialogue/description, so I’m rather appalled at such cavalier approach to editing, I’ll admit. But as appalled as I may be, I have this nagging suspicion that readers want to be dragged by the scruff of the neck into the action. We no longer write the “dark and stormy night” openings (Woodiwiss did lovely weather and setting reports at the beginning of each chapter!). So it does seem the next stage might be the opening line “See if I go to bed with you again, Duke!” Her slap resounded around the bedroom.”EG”

    Reply
  41. But… ‘”See if I go to bed with you again, Duke!” Her slap resounded around the bedroom.’ is a great opening if he can tell me while his head is reeling how the red brocade bed curtains seem to be undulating because his eyes are crossed from the blow, he sees two of the ‘slapper’ for the same reason, and how badly his cheek hurts as a result.
    BCG
    I know…shut up…
    Really, I try very hard to do a balance. I think I picked up my first Victoria Holt novel when I was in sixth grade and yes, waaaaay back in the 60’s. Loved her!! But the more authors I read, the more often I found my eyes glazing over at times because so many put too much description into their stories.
    I certainly don’t advocate little to no descriptions. I agree that’s like stick people. Then again, when an author is describing what the heroine is wearing and gets so caught up in it that I not only know what the buttons on her dress are made of, but also how many stitches each one has in order to sew it on, how many are aligned and how many are offset, how many holes in each, what size the holes in the button are and how the holes were made…it’s snooze city for me and I find myself skimming.
    There’s a fine line between wonderful description and nails-on-a-blackboard details. In the above instance, I’d really a rather little less detail, please.

    Reply
  42. But… ‘”See if I go to bed with you again, Duke!” Her slap resounded around the bedroom.’ is a great opening if he can tell me while his head is reeling how the red brocade bed curtains seem to be undulating because his eyes are crossed from the blow, he sees two of the ‘slapper’ for the same reason, and how badly his cheek hurts as a result.
    BCG
    I know…shut up…
    Really, I try very hard to do a balance. I think I picked up my first Victoria Holt novel when I was in sixth grade and yes, waaaaay back in the 60’s. Loved her!! But the more authors I read, the more often I found my eyes glazing over at times because so many put too much description into their stories.
    I certainly don’t advocate little to no descriptions. I agree that’s like stick people. Then again, when an author is describing what the heroine is wearing and gets so caught up in it that I not only know what the buttons on her dress are made of, but also how many stitches each one has in order to sew it on, how many are aligned and how many are offset, how many holes in each, what size the holes in the button are and how the holes were made…it’s snooze city for me and I find myself skimming.
    There’s a fine line between wonderful description and nails-on-a-blackboard details. In the above instance, I’d really a rather little less detail, please.

    Reply
  43. But… ‘”See if I go to bed with you again, Duke!” Her slap resounded around the bedroom.’ is a great opening if he can tell me while his head is reeling how the red brocade bed curtains seem to be undulating because his eyes are crossed from the blow, he sees two of the ‘slapper’ for the same reason, and how badly his cheek hurts as a result.
    BCG
    I know…shut up…
    Really, I try very hard to do a balance. I think I picked up my first Victoria Holt novel when I was in sixth grade and yes, waaaaay back in the 60’s. Loved her!! But the more authors I read, the more often I found my eyes glazing over at times because so many put too much description into their stories.
    I certainly don’t advocate little to no descriptions. I agree that’s like stick people. Then again, when an author is describing what the heroine is wearing and gets so caught up in it that I not only know what the buttons on her dress are made of, but also how many stitches each one has in order to sew it on, how many are aligned and how many are offset, how many holes in each, what size the holes in the button are and how the holes were made…it’s snooze city for me and I find myself skimming.
    There’s a fine line between wonderful description and nails-on-a-blackboard details. In the above instance, I’d really a rather little less detail, please.

    Reply
  44. But… ‘”See if I go to bed with you again, Duke!” Her slap resounded around the bedroom.’ is a great opening if he can tell me while his head is reeling how the red brocade bed curtains seem to be undulating because his eyes are crossed from the blow, he sees two of the ‘slapper’ for the same reason, and how badly his cheek hurts as a result.
    BCG
    I know…shut up…
    Really, I try very hard to do a balance. I think I picked up my first Victoria Holt novel when I was in sixth grade and yes, waaaaay back in the 60’s. Loved her!! But the more authors I read, the more often I found my eyes glazing over at times because so many put too much description into their stories.
    I certainly don’t advocate little to no descriptions. I agree that’s like stick people. Then again, when an author is describing what the heroine is wearing and gets so caught up in it that I not only know what the buttons on her dress are made of, but also how many stitches each one has in order to sew it on, how many are aligned and how many are offset, how many holes in each, what size the holes in the button are and how the holes were made…it’s snooze city for me and I find myself skimming.
    There’s a fine line between wonderful description and nails-on-a-blackboard details. In the above instance, I’d really a rather little less detail, please.

    Reply
  45. But… ‘”See if I go to bed with you again, Duke!” Her slap resounded around the bedroom.’ is a great opening if he can tell me while his head is reeling how the red brocade bed curtains seem to be undulating because his eyes are crossed from the blow, he sees two of the ‘slapper’ for the same reason, and how badly his cheek hurts as a result.
    BCG
    I know…shut up…
    Really, I try very hard to do a balance. I think I picked up my first Victoria Holt novel when I was in sixth grade and yes, waaaaay back in the 60’s. Loved her!! But the more authors I read, the more often I found my eyes glazing over at times because so many put too much description into their stories.
    I certainly don’t advocate little to no descriptions. I agree that’s like stick people. Then again, when an author is describing what the heroine is wearing and gets so caught up in it that I not only know what the buttons on her dress are made of, but also how many stitches each one has in order to sew it on, how many are aligned and how many are offset, how many holes in each, what size the holes in the button are and how the holes were made…it’s snooze city for me and I find myself skimming.
    There’s a fine line between wonderful description and nails-on-a-blackboard details. In the above instance, I’d really a rather little less detail, please.

    Reply
  46. “‘See if I go to bed with you again, Duke!’ Her slap resounded around the bedroom.’ ”
    I’d buy it! Don’t care about whether there’s a brocade bedspread at all…
    But in general, I do like setting, as long as its done well. I think it really grounds the story in its time and place and that adds so much to a story.
    To me those details are like the music soundtrack of a movie — adding atmosphere and mood. And when it’s done well, you don’t consciously notice it, you just absorb it and it adds so much to your experience of the story.
    I do think there’s an increasing trend to more action and dialogue. A book I read recently really could have been set in almost any time and place, apart from the occasional carriage and frock. It was pacy, but forgettable
    By contrast I also recently read CS Harris’s “What Angels Fear” — a regency era crime novel and I could hear the footsteps echoing in the lonely alley, feel the slimy damp cobblestones underfoot, the waft of smoky fog against my skin , (and believe me, we’re in a heat wave here with 100+F temps every day, so it’s an impressive feat.)
    The setting details were seamlessly interwoven into the story and strengthened the immediacy of the story.
    But I have seen books where every setting detail is shared, demonstrating, for instance, the writer’s love of antiques, and I will skim over some of those. To me it doesn’t matter who made the table and what its details are unless the maker and the details are relevant to the plot in some way, or reveal something about characters.

    Reply
  47. “‘See if I go to bed with you again, Duke!’ Her slap resounded around the bedroom.’ ”
    I’d buy it! Don’t care about whether there’s a brocade bedspread at all…
    But in general, I do like setting, as long as its done well. I think it really grounds the story in its time and place and that adds so much to a story.
    To me those details are like the music soundtrack of a movie — adding atmosphere and mood. And when it’s done well, you don’t consciously notice it, you just absorb it and it adds so much to your experience of the story.
    I do think there’s an increasing trend to more action and dialogue. A book I read recently really could have been set in almost any time and place, apart from the occasional carriage and frock. It was pacy, but forgettable
    By contrast I also recently read CS Harris’s “What Angels Fear” — a regency era crime novel and I could hear the footsteps echoing in the lonely alley, feel the slimy damp cobblestones underfoot, the waft of smoky fog against my skin , (and believe me, we’re in a heat wave here with 100+F temps every day, so it’s an impressive feat.)
    The setting details were seamlessly interwoven into the story and strengthened the immediacy of the story.
    But I have seen books where every setting detail is shared, demonstrating, for instance, the writer’s love of antiques, and I will skim over some of those. To me it doesn’t matter who made the table and what its details are unless the maker and the details are relevant to the plot in some way, or reveal something about characters.

    Reply
  48. “‘See if I go to bed with you again, Duke!’ Her slap resounded around the bedroom.’ ”
    I’d buy it! Don’t care about whether there’s a brocade bedspread at all…
    But in general, I do like setting, as long as its done well. I think it really grounds the story in its time and place and that adds so much to a story.
    To me those details are like the music soundtrack of a movie — adding atmosphere and mood. And when it’s done well, you don’t consciously notice it, you just absorb it and it adds so much to your experience of the story.
    I do think there’s an increasing trend to more action and dialogue. A book I read recently really could have been set in almost any time and place, apart from the occasional carriage and frock. It was pacy, but forgettable
    By contrast I also recently read CS Harris’s “What Angels Fear” — a regency era crime novel and I could hear the footsteps echoing in the lonely alley, feel the slimy damp cobblestones underfoot, the waft of smoky fog against my skin , (and believe me, we’re in a heat wave here with 100+F temps every day, so it’s an impressive feat.)
    The setting details were seamlessly interwoven into the story and strengthened the immediacy of the story.
    But I have seen books where every setting detail is shared, demonstrating, for instance, the writer’s love of antiques, and I will skim over some of those. To me it doesn’t matter who made the table and what its details are unless the maker and the details are relevant to the plot in some way, or reveal something about characters.

    Reply
  49. “‘See if I go to bed with you again, Duke!’ Her slap resounded around the bedroom.’ ”
    I’d buy it! Don’t care about whether there’s a brocade bedspread at all…
    But in general, I do like setting, as long as its done well. I think it really grounds the story in its time and place and that adds so much to a story.
    To me those details are like the music soundtrack of a movie — adding atmosphere and mood. And when it’s done well, you don’t consciously notice it, you just absorb it and it adds so much to your experience of the story.
    I do think there’s an increasing trend to more action and dialogue. A book I read recently really could have been set in almost any time and place, apart from the occasional carriage and frock. It was pacy, but forgettable
    By contrast I also recently read CS Harris’s “What Angels Fear” — a regency era crime novel and I could hear the footsteps echoing in the lonely alley, feel the slimy damp cobblestones underfoot, the waft of smoky fog against my skin , (and believe me, we’re in a heat wave here with 100+F temps every day, so it’s an impressive feat.)
    The setting details were seamlessly interwoven into the story and strengthened the immediacy of the story.
    But I have seen books where every setting detail is shared, demonstrating, for instance, the writer’s love of antiques, and I will skim over some of those. To me it doesn’t matter who made the table and what its details are unless the maker and the details are relevant to the plot in some way, or reveal something about characters.

    Reply
  50. “‘See if I go to bed with you again, Duke!’ Her slap resounded around the bedroom.’ ”
    I’d buy it! Don’t care about whether there’s a brocade bedspread at all…
    But in general, I do like setting, as long as its done well. I think it really grounds the story in its time and place and that adds so much to a story.
    To me those details are like the music soundtrack of a movie — adding atmosphere and mood. And when it’s done well, you don’t consciously notice it, you just absorb it and it adds so much to your experience of the story.
    I do think there’s an increasing trend to more action and dialogue. A book I read recently really could have been set in almost any time and place, apart from the occasional carriage and frock. It was pacy, but forgettable
    By contrast I also recently read CS Harris’s “What Angels Fear” — a regency era crime novel and I could hear the footsteps echoing in the lonely alley, feel the slimy damp cobblestones underfoot, the waft of smoky fog against my skin , (and believe me, we’re in a heat wave here with 100+F temps every day, so it’s an impressive feat.)
    The setting details were seamlessly interwoven into the story and strengthened the immediacy of the story.
    But I have seen books where every setting detail is shared, demonstrating, for instance, the writer’s love of antiques, and I will skim over some of those. To me it doesn’t matter who made the table and what its details are unless the maker and the details are relevant to the plot in some way, or reveal something about characters.

    Reply
  51. Anne, after I wrote that post, I got to thinking. I think the best use of clothing description I’ve read yet is in Perfect Waltz.
    Because it was the Hero’s ‘profession’ the descriptions were just right. And you used it throughout the story which added a huge dimension to the overall storyline that it would have otherwise lacked. It was a given to me that the Hero would of course notice the type of material and cut because of the mills he owned. But you didn’t inundate.
    You didn’t tell me how many threads per square inch were used in the fabric and how long or thick each thread was and that it took 22-1/2 sheep to get one yard of this one specific wool that…well, never mind. But you get my meaning, I think. It worked. “Perfectly” 😉
    Like I said…fine line.
    And I still think that’s a great opening line! 😀

    Reply
  52. Anne, after I wrote that post, I got to thinking. I think the best use of clothing description I’ve read yet is in Perfect Waltz.
    Because it was the Hero’s ‘profession’ the descriptions were just right. And you used it throughout the story which added a huge dimension to the overall storyline that it would have otherwise lacked. It was a given to me that the Hero would of course notice the type of material and cut because of the mills he owned. But you didn’t inundate.
    You didn’t tell me how many threads per square inch were used in the fabric and how long or thick each thread was and that it took 22-1/2 sheep to get one yard of this one specific wool that…well, never mind. But you get my meaning, I think. It worked. “Perfectly” 😉
    Like I said…fine line.
    And I still think that’s a great opening line! 😀

    Reply
  53. Anne, after I wrote that post, I got to thinking. I think the best use of clothing description I’ve read yet is in Perfect Waltz.
    Because it was the Hero’s ‘profession’ the descriptions were just right. And you used it throughout the story which added a huge dimension to the overall storyline that it would have otherwise lacked. It was a given to me that the Hero would of course notice the type of material and cut because of the mills he owned. But you didn’t inundate.
    You didn’t tell me how many threads per square inch were used in the fabric and how long or thick each thread was and that it took 22-1/2 sheep to get one yard of this one specific wool that…well, never mind. But you get my meaning, I think. It worked. “Perfectly” 😉
    Like I said…fine line.
    And I still think that’s a great opening line! 😀

    Reply
  54. Anne, after I wrote that post, I got to thinking. I think the best use of clothing description I’ve read yet is in Perfect Waltz.
    Because it was the Hero’s ‘profession’ the descriptions were just right. And you used it throughout the story which added a huge dimension to the overall storyline that it would have otherwise lacked. It was a given to me that the Hero would of course notice the type of material and cut because of the mills he owned. But you didn’t inundate.
    You didn’t tell me how many threads per square inch were used in the fabric and how long or thick each thread was and that it took 22-1/2 sheep to get one yard of this one specific wool that…well, never mind. But you get my meaning, I think. It worked. “Perfectly” 😉
    Like I said…fine line.
    And I still think that’s a great opening line! 😀

    Reply
  55. Anne, after I wrote that post, I got to thinking. I think the best use of clothing description I’ve read yet is in Perfect Waltz.
    Because it was the Hero’s ‘profession’ the descriptions were just right. And you used it throughout the story which added a huge dimension to the overall storyline that it would have otherwise lacked. It was a given to me that the Hero would of course notice the type of material and cut because of the mills he owned. But you didn’t inundate.
    You didn’t tell me how many threads per square inch were used in the fabric and how long or thick each thread was and that it took 22-1/2 sheep to get one yard of this one specific wool that…well, never mind. But you get my meaning, I think. It worked. “Perfectly” 😉
    Like I said…fine line.
    And I still think that’s a great opening line! 😀

    Reply
  56. About 99% of the sex I don’t read. There are authors who keep me going all the way through every page and I’m surprised to find I’ve hit the end – but otherwise, blablabla. This must be individual taste as I have friends who won’t read romances that aren’t 80% sex (I call it erotica marketed to denial) and then there’s my sister in law.
    She gave me a book (13th tale? Something like that) I found to be a decent but predictable read and I said look, this is a romance with Pretensions, Let me give you a good romance novel. I carefully selected one of a similar feel and she read it, saying she’d never read another because it had too much sex. (almost none)
    So you can’t win for losing.
    Description wise – I love settings, places, weather, etc – but it lies in the quality of the writer. Is she telling me something interesting about indoor plumbing in the era or is she cramming in the ‘facts one puts in a romance’ and it’s the same cliff notes for romance-land everyone else was writing off that year?
    Whatever it is – my romance book buying is down about 60%. It’s not the economy, it’s been sliding down for a few years. I’m seeking out new authors, new lines, but what I like in romance isn’t out there as much as it was.

    Reply
  57. About 99% of the sex I don’t read. There are authors who keep me going all the way through every page and I’m surprised to find I’ve hit the end – but otherwise, blablabla. This must be individual taste as I have friends who won’t read romances that aren’t 80% sex (I call it erotica marketed to denial) and then there’s my sister in law.
    She gave me a book (13th tale? Something like that) I found to be a decent but predictable read and I said look, this is a romance with Pretensions, Let me give you a good romance novel. I carefully selected one of a similar feel and she read it, saying she’d never read another because it had too much sex. (almost none)
    So you can’t win for losing.
    Description wise – I love settings, places, weather, etc – but it lies in the quality of the writer. Is she telling me something interesting about indoor plumbing in the era or is she cramming in the ‘facts one puts in a romance’ and it’s the same cliff notes for romance-land everyone else was writing off that year?
    Whatever it is – my romance book buying is down about 60%. It’s not the economy, it’s been sliding down for a few years. I’m seeking out new authors, new lines, but what I like in romance isn’t out there as much as it was.

    Reply
  58. About 99% of the sex I don’t read. There are authors who keep me going all the way through every page and I’m surprised to find I’ve hit the end – but otherwise, blablabla. This must be individual taste as I have friends who won’t read romances that aren’t 80% sex (I call it erotica marketed to denial) and then there’s my sister in law.
    She gave me a book (13th tale? Something like that) I found to be a decent but predictable read and I said look, this is a romance with Pretensions, Let me give you a good romance novel. I carefully selected one of a similar feel and she read it, saying she’d never read another because it had too much sex. (almost none)
    So you can’t win for losing.
    Description wise – I love settings, places, weather, etc – but it lies in the quality of the writer. Is she telling me something interesting about indoor plumbing in the era or is she cramming in the ‘facts one puts in a romance’ and it’s the same cliff notes for romance-land everyone else was writing off that year?
    Whatever it is – my romance book buying is down about 60%. It’s not the economy, it’s been sliding down for a few years. I’m seeking out new authors, new lines, but what I like in romance isn’t out there as much as it was.

    Reply
  59. About 99% of the sex I don’t read. There are authors who keep me going all the way through every page and I’m surprised to find I’ve hit the end – but otherwise, blablabla. This must be individual taste as I have friends who won’t read romances that aren’t 80% sex (I call it erotica marketed to denial) and then there’s my sister in law.
    She gave me a book (13th tale? Something like that) I found to be a decent but predictable read and I said look, this is a romance with Pretensions, Let me give you a good romance novel. I carefully selected one of a similar feel and she read it, saying she’d never read another because it had too much sex. (almost none)
    So you can’t win for losing.
    Description wise – I love settings, places, weather, etc – but it lies in the quality of the writer. Is she telling me something interesting about indoor plumbing in the era or is she cramming in the ‘facts one puts in a romance’ and it’s the same cliff notes for romance-land everyone else was writing off that year?
    Whatever it is – my romance book buying is down about 60%. It’s not the economy, it’s been sliding down for a few years. I’m seeking out new authors, new lines, but what I like in romance isn’t out there as much as it was.

    Reply
  60. About 99% of the sex I don’t read. There are authors who keep me going all the way through every page and I’m surprised to find I’ve hit the end – but otherwise, blablabla. This must be individual taste as I have friends who won’t read romances that aren’t 80% sex (I call it erotica marketed to denial) and then there’s my sister in law.
    She gave me a book (13th tale? Something like that) I found to be a decent but predictable read and I said look, this is a romance with Pretensions, Let me give you a good romance novel. I carefully selected one of a similar feel and she read it, saying she’d never read another because it had too much sex. (almost none)
    So you can’t win for losing.
    Description wise – I love settings, places, weather, etc – but it lies in the quality of the writer. Is she telling me something interesting about indoor plumbing in the era or is she cramming in the ‘facts one puts in a romance’ and it’s the same cliff notes for romance-land everyone else was writing off that year?
    Whatever it is – my romance book buying is down about 60%. It’s not the economy, it’s been sliding down for a few years. I’m seeking out new authors, new lines, but what I like in romance isn’t out there as much as it was.

    Reply
  61. I do like descriptions I like it when the author makes me feel part of the story and I never skip over any words I read it all. I have been reading romance since the 70’s and still love them
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  62. I do like descriptions I like it when the author makes me feel part of the story and I never skip over any words I read it all. I have been reading romance since the 70’s and still love them
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  63. I do like descriptions I like it when the author makes me feel part of the story and I never skip over any words I read it all. I have been reading romance since the 70’s and still love them
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  64. I do like descriptions I like it when the author makes me feel part of the story and I never skip over any words I read it all. I have been reading romance since the 70’s and still love them
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  65. I do like descriptions I like it when the author makes me feel part of the story and I never skip over any words I read it all. I have been reading romance since the 70’s and still love them
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  66. LOL, I’m expecting a slew of romances to hit the shelves in a year or two with that first line. “G” To me, that line sets up the need to drag in a whoooole lot of back story later, when I’d much rather read it in action now. So my complaint may also be that starting with the action results in flashbacks, and I’m no fan of flashbacks. But as Liz says about sex, that’s in the eye of the individual reader.
    And Anne nails the description problem very well–it’s another element of pulling the reader into the book by the scruff of the neck. But if you leave the reader dangling for too long, he chokes and dies. “G” I love these discussions. It helps focus my thinking!

    Reply
  67. LOL, I’m expecting a slew of romances to hit the shelves in a year or two with that first line. “G” To me, that line sets up the need to drag in a whoooole lot of back story later, when I’d much rather read it in action now. So my complaint may also be that starting with the action results in flashbacks, and I’m no fan of flashbacks. But as Liz says about sex, that’s in the eye of the individual reader.
    And Anne nails the description problem very well–it’s another element of pulling the reader into the book by the scruff of the neck. But if you leave the reader dangling for too long, he chokes and dies. “G” I love these discussions. It helps focus my thinking!

    Reply
  68. LOL, I’m expecting a slew of romances to hit the shelves in a year or two with that first line. “G” To me, that line sets up the need to drag in a whoooole lot of back story later, when I’d much rather read it in action now. So my complaint may also be that starting with the action results in flashbacks, and I’m no fan of flashbacks. But as Liz says about sex, that’s in the eye of the individual reader.
    And Anne nails the description problem very well–it’s another element of pulling the reader into the book by the scruff of the neck. But if you leave the reader dangling for too long, he chokes and dies. “G” I love these discussions. It helps focus my thinking!

    Reply
  69. LOL, I’m expecting a slew of romances to hit the shelves in a year or two with that first line. “G” To me, that line sets up the need to drag in a whoooole lot of back story later, when I’d much rather read it in action now. So my complaint may also be that starting with the action results in flashbacks, and I’m no fan of flashbacks. But as Liz says about sex, that’s in the eye of the individual reader.
    And Anne nails the description problem very well–it’s another element of pulling the reader into the book by the scruff of the neck. But if you leave the reader dangling for too long, he chokes and dies. “G” I love these discussions. It helps focus my thinking!

    Reply
  70. LOL, I’m expecting a slew of romances to hit the shelves in a year or two with that first line. “G” To me, that line sets up the need to drag in a whoooole lot of back story later, when I’d much rather read it in action now. So my complaint may also be that starting with the action results in flashbacks, and I’m no fan of flashbacks. But as Liz says about sex, that’s in the eye of the individual reader.
    And Anne nails the description problem very well–it’s another element of pulling the reader into the book by the scruff of the neck. But if you leave the reader dangling for too long, he chokes and dies. “G” I love these discussions. It helps focus my thinking!

    Reply
  71. I’m with Janice. I hate the kind of story that agent describes.
    I read every word of every book, and I go on the side of loving lots of description and internal dialog. I want to feel the setting of the story. And however you slice it, the past is not the present. And I have to know something about the characters to care about them. Part of what makes a book a book is that books can tell us what the characters think as well as show, whereas movies can only show.
    Oh yes, sex scenes. I’m all for some sex, but I prefer sexual tension to body parts. Agents and editors say your book has to have a lot of sex to sell. But people tell me they skip the sex scenes. From the sales numbers, it looks like the sex sells because the people who don’t want it are forced to get it when they buy the book.
    I write, too, and my level of sex is at the lower end of mainstream, which means not much sex. Which probably also means I won’t sell much. One reviewer dinged my novella because there were only two paragraphs of sex. Gee, how much sex was I supposed to put in 86 pages? That reviewer will probably hate the next novella, which has a bedroom scene, but no sex (figure that one out).

    Reply
  72. I’m with Janice. I hate the kind of story that agent describes.
    I read every word of every book, and I go on the side of loving lots of description and internal dialog. I want to feel the setting of the story. And however you slice it, the past is not the present. And I have to know something about the characters to care about them. Part of what makes a book a book is that books can tell us what the characters think as well as show, whereas movies can only show.
    Oh yes, sex scenes. I’m all for some sex, but I prefer sexual tension to body parts. Agents and editors say your book has to have a lot of sex to sell. But people tell me they skip the sex scenes. From the sales numbers, it looks like the sex sells because the people who don’t want it are forced to get it when they buy the book.
    I write, too, and my level of sex is at the lower end of mainstream, which means not much sex. Which probably also means I won’t sell much. One reviewer dinged my novella because there were only two paragraphs of sex. Gee, how much sex was I supposed to put in 86 pages? That reviewer will probably hate the next novella, which has a bedroom scene, but no sex (figure that one out).

    Reply
  73. I’m with Janice. I hate the kind of story that agent describes.
    I read every word of every book, and I go on the side of loving lots of description and internal dialog. I want to feel the setting of the story. And however you slice it, the past is not the present. And I have to know something about the characters to care about them. Part of what makes a book a book is that books can tell us what the characters think as well as show, whereas movies can only show.
    Oh yes, sex scenes. I’m all for some sex, but I prefer sexual tension to body parts. Agents and editors say your book has to have a lot of sex to sell. But people tell me they skip the sex scenes. From the sales numbers, it looks like the sex sells because the people who don’t want it are forced to get it when they buy the book.
    I write, too, and my level of sex is at the lower end of mainstream, which means not much sex. Which probably also means I won’t sell much. One reviewer dinged my novella because there were only two paragraphs of sex. Gee, how much sex was I supposed to put in 86 pages? That reviewer will probably hate the next novella, which has a bedroom scene, but no sex (figure that one out).

    Reply
  74. I’m with Janice. I hate the kind of story that agent describes.
    I read every word of every book, and I go on the side of loving lots of description and internal dialog. I want to feel the setting of the story. And however you slice it, the past is not the present. And I have to know something about the characters to care about them. Part of what makes a book a book is that books can tell us what the characters think as well as show, whereas movies can only show.
    Oh yes, sex scenes. I’m all for some sex, but I prefer sexual tension to body parts. Agents and editors say your book has to have a lot of sex to sell. But people tell me they skip the sex scenes. From the sales numbers, it looks like the sex sells because the people who don’t want it are forced to get it when they buy the book.
    I write, too, and my level of sex is at the lower end of mainstream, which means not much sex. Which probably also means I won’t sell much. One reviewer dinged my novella because there were only two paragraphs of sex. Gee, how much sex was I supposed to put in 86 pages? That reviewer will probably hate the next novella, which has a bedroom scene, but no sex (figure that one out).

    Reply
  75. I’m with Janice. I hate the kind of story that agent describes.
    I read every word of every book, and I go on the side of loving lots of description and internal dialog. I want to feel the setting of the story. And however you slice it, the past is not the present. And I have to know something about the characters to care about them. Part of what makes a book a book is that books can tell us what the characters think as well as show, whereas movies can only show.
    Oh yes, sex scenes. I’m all for some sex, but I prefer sexual tension to body parts. Agents and editors say your book has to have a lot of sex to sell. But people tell me they skip the sex scenes. From the sales numbers, it looks like the sex sells because the people who don’t want it are forced to get it when they buy the book.
    I write, too, and my level of sex is at the lower end of mainstream, which means not much sex. Which probably also means I won’t sell much. One reviewer dinged my novella because there were only two paragraphs of sex. Gee, how much sex was I supposed to put in 86 pages? That reviewer will probably hate the next novella, which has a bedroom scene, but no sex (figure that one out).

    Reply
  76. Pat, I don’t mind flashbacks if they’re done in bits and pieces and woven in so the story continues to flow. I do like when the story starts with action of course, but I’ve read a few where it started with flashbacks/backstory and it wouldn’t have worked any other way. What I can’t stand is an info dump and you can get those anywhere in a story. Yes, give me the info, but don’t just plop it all in there like a “had to”.
    As far as the sex goes, depends on the book as to how much I want to read or write. Sometimes it’s integral and again, sometimes it seems like the author added it either as an afterthought or their editor told them “You must.”

    Reply
  77. Pat, I don’t mind flashbacks if they’re done in bits and pieces and woven in so the story continues to flow. I do like when the story starts with action of course, but I’ve read a few where it started with flashbacks/backstory and it wouldn’t have worked any other way. What I can’t stand is an info dump and you can get those anywhere in a story. Yes, give me the info, but don’t just plop it all in there like a “had to”.
    As far as the sex goes, depends on the book as to how much I want to read or write. Sometimes it’s integral and again, sometimes it seems like the author added it either as an afterthought or their editor told them “You must.”

    Reply
  78. Pat, I don’t mind flashbacks if they’re done in bits and pieces and woven in so the story continues to flow. I do like when the story starts with action of course, but I’ve read a few where it started with flashbacks/backstory and it wouldn’t have worked any other way. What I can’t stand is an info dump and you can get those anywhere in a story. Yes, give me the info, but don’t just plop it all in there like a “had to”.
    As far as the sex goes, depends on the book as to how much I want to read or write. Sometimes it’s integral and again, sometimes it seems like the author added it either as an afterthought or their editor told them “You must.”

    Reply
  79. Pat, I don’t mind flashbacks if they’re done in bits and pieces and woven in so the story continues to flow. I do like when the story starts with action of course, but I’ve read a few where it started with flashbacks/backstory and it wouldn’t have worked any other way. What I can’t stand is an info dump and you can get those anywhere in a story. Yes, give me the info, but don’t just plop it all in there like a “had to”.
    As far as the sex goes, depends on the book as to how much I want to read or write. Sometimes it’s integral and again, sometimes it seems like the author added it either as an afterthought or their editor told them “You must.”

    Reply
  80. Pat, I don’t mind flashbacks if they’re done in bits and pieces and woven in so the story continues to flow. I do like when the story starts with action of course, but I’ve read a few where it started with flashbacks/backstory and it wouldn’t have worked any other way. What I can’t stand is an info dump and you can get those anywhere in a story. Yes, give me the info, but don’t just plop it all in there like a “had to”.
    As far as the sex goes, depends on the book as to how much I want to read or write. Sometimes it’s integral and again, sometimes it seems like the author added it either as an afterthought or their editor told them “You must.”

    Reply
  81. Theo, could you list some titles of these books with all the descriptions of clothes? It sounds like just what I’d enjoy, and I’ve never read one.
    As a matter of fact, I tend to read stupid clothes descriptions. In the book I’m reading now the heroine wears a nightdress of Brussels lace. I was wondering before whether the author knew how expensive hand-made lace was when she descibed a morning dress trimmed with blonde, but sleeping in a lace dress, at a time (1815, she mentions Napoleon’s escape from Elba) when lace court dresses were unbelievably expensive and rare, it yanks me right out of the story.
    Come to think of it, that is a positive side effect of skipping descriptions. You make less gaffes.

    Reply
  82. Theo, could you list some titles of these books with all the descriptions of clothes? It sounds like just what I’d enjoy, and I’ve never read one.
    As a matter of fact, I tend to read stupid clothes descriptions. In the book I’m reading now the heroine wears a nightdress of Brussels lace. I was wondering before whether the author knew how expensive hand-made lace was when she descibed a morning dress trimmed with blonde, but sleeping in a lace dress, at a time (1815, she mentions Napoleon’s escape from Elba) when lace court dresses were unbelievably expensive and rare, it yanks me right out of the story.
    Come to think of it, that is a positive side effect of skipping descriptions. You make less gaffes.

    Reply
  83. Theo, could you list some titles of these books with all the descriptions of clothes? It sounds like just what I’d enjoy, and I’ve never read one.
    As a matter of fact, I tend to read stupid clothes descriptions. In the book I’m reading now the heroine wears a nightdress of Brussels lace. I was wondering before whether the author knew how expensive hand-made lace was when she descibed a morning dress trimmed with blonde, but sleeping in a lace dress, at a time (1815, she mentions Napoleon’s escape from Elba) when lace court dresses were unbelievably expensive and rare, it yanks me right out of the story.
    Come to think of it, that is a positive side effect of skipping descriptions. You make less gaffes.

    Reply
  84. Theo, could you list some titles of these books with all the descriptions of clothes? It sounds like just what I’d enjoy, and I’ve never read one.
    As a matter of fact, I tend to read stupid clothes descriptions. In the book I’m reading now the heroine wears a nightdress of Brussels lace. I was wondering before whether the author knew how expensive hand-made lace was when she descibed a morning dress trimmed with blonde, but sleeping in a lace dress, at a time (1815, she mentions Napoleon’s escape from Elba) when lace court dresses were unbelievably expensive and rare, it yanks me right out of the story.
    Come to think of it, that is a positive side effect of skipping descriptions. You make less gaffes.

    Reply
  85. Theo, could you list some titles of these books with all the descriptions of clothes? It sounds like just what I’d enjoy, and I’ve never read one.
    As a matter of fact, I tend to read stupid clothes descriptions. In the book I’m reading now the heroine wears a nightdress of Brussels lace. I was wondering before whether the author knew how expensive hand-made lace was when she descibed a morning dress trimmed with blonde, but sleeping in a lace dress, at a time (1815, she mentions Napoleon’s escape from Elba) when lace court dresses were unbelievably expensive and rare, it yanks me right out of the story.
    Come to think of it, that is a positive side effect of skipping descriptions. You make less gaffes.

    Reply
  86. When I hear stories like this, I have to wonder what the quality of writing was like. Some people write descriptions that read like action. Others write descriptions that read like the fine print on one of those News from your Credit Card Company letters (it’s never good news, is it?) Some people know when enough is enough and others don’t. One of my favorite writers (not romance) has become so heavyhanded with interior monologue that I’ve decided to stop buying the books, because I end up skimming at least half…and not particularly caring what the characters are thinking, thinking, thinking. I call these books “too thinky.” I tend to skim sex scenes if they are focused on mechanics and not focused on psychology (in this case, interior monologue can work just fine). Plumbing doesn’t intrigue me; feelings do. Other things I wonder about this author’s story: Who was the intended publisher, and what was the line? Is the agent a Hemingway fan? If I were advising a new writer who wrote good dialogue but not-so-great description, I’d strongly urge her to focus on her strengths. With experience and practice, the weaker skills can improve, but you need to start strong. Maybe that’s what the agent was trying to say.

    Reply
  87. When I hear stories like this, I have to wonder what the quality of writing was like. Some people write descriptions that read like action. Others write descriptions that read like the fine print on one of those News from your Credit Card Company letters (it’s never good news, is it?) Some people know when enough is enough and others don’t. One of my favorite writers (not romance) has become so heavyhanded with interior monologue that I’ve decided to stop buying the books, because I end up skimming at least half…and not particularly caring what the characters are thinking, thinking, thinking. I call these books “too thinky.” I tend to skim sex scenes if they are focused on mechanics and not focused on psychology (in this case, interior monologue can work just fine). Plumbing doesn’t intrigue me; feelings do. Other things I wonder about this author’s story: Who was the intended publisher, and what was the line? Is the agent a Hemingway fan? If I were advising a new writer who wrote good dialogue but not-so-great description, I’d strongly urge her to focus on her strengths. With experience and practice, the weaker skills can improve, but you need to start strong. Maybe that’s what the agent was trying to say.

    Reply
  88. When I hear stories like this, I have to wonder what the quality of writing was like. Some people write descriptions that read like action. Others write descriptions that read like the fine print on one of those News from your Credit Card Company letters (it’s never good news, is it?) Some people know when enough is enough and others don’t. One of my favorite writers (not romance) has become so heavyhanded with interior monologue that I’ve decided to stop buying the books, because I end up skimming at least half…and not particularly caring what the characters are thinking, thinking, thinking. I call these books “too thinky.” I tend to skim sex scenes if they are focused on mechanics and not focused on psychology (in this case, interior monologue can work just fine). Plumbing doesn’t intrigue me; feelings do. Other things I wonder about this author’s story: Who was the intended publisher, and what was the line? Is the agent a Hemingway fan? If I were advising a new writer who wrote good dialogue but not-so-great description, I’d strongly urge her to focus on her strengths. With experience and practice, the weaker skills can improve, but you need to start strong. Maybe that’s what the agent was trying to say.

    Reply
  89. When I hear stories like this, I have to wonder what the quality of writing was like. Some people write descriptions that read like action. Others write descriptions that read like the fine print on one of those News from your Credit Card Company letters (it’s never good news, is it?) Some people know when enough is enough and others don’t. One of my favorite writers (not romance) has become so heavyhanded with interior monologue that I’ve decided to stop buying the books, because I end up skimming at least half…and not particularly caring what the characters are thinking, thinking, thinking. I call these books “too thinky.” I tend to skim sex scenes if they are focused on mechanics and not focused on psychology (in this case, interior monologue can work just fine). Plumbing doesn’t intrigue me; feelings do. Other things I wonder about this author’s story: Who was the intended publisher, and what was the line? Is the agent a Hemingway fan? If I were advising a new writer who wrote good dialogue but not-so-great description, I’d strongly urge her to focus on her strengths. With experience and practice, the weaker skills can improve, but you need to start strong. Maybe that’s what the agent was trying to say.

    Reply
  90. When I hear stories like this, I have to wonder what the quality of writing was like. Some people write descriptions that read like action. Others write descriptions that read like the fine print on one of those News from your Credit Card Company letters (it’s never good news, is it?) Some people know when enough is enough and others don’t. One of my favorite writers (not romance) has become so heavyhanded with interior monologue that I’ve decided to stop buying the books, because I end up skimming at least half…and not particularly caring what the characters are thinking, thinking, thinking. I call these books “too thinky.” I tend to skim sex scenes if they are focused on mechanics and not focused on psychology (in this case, interior monologue can work just fine). Plumbing doesn’t intrigue me; feelings do. Other things I wonder about this author’s story: Who was the intended publisher, and what was the line? Is the agent a Hemingway fan? If I were advising a new writer who wrote good dialogue but not-so-great description, I’d strongly urge her to focus on her strengths. With experience and practice, the weaker skills can improve, but you need to start strong. Maybe that’s what the agent was trying to say.

    Reply
  91. Personally, I find the trend toward more dialog and sex disconcerting. I have recently rediscovered historical romance after many years of reading exclusively romantic suspense. One of the things that drew me back to the genre of historical romance was the wonderful use of description of setting and character. I’ll admit, however, that it has to be well-written and not every author can successfully pull it off.
    I, too, will skim through paragraphs of sex. I choose not to read erotica. I prefer romance and tension, the inner conflict, all the things that lead up to the inevitable kiss that gives me goosebumps and butterflies in my stomach.
    Lastly, I’m a fourth grade teacher. I spend a fair amount of time talking to my students about making mental images and “movies in their heads.” I consider it a successful day when I hear or read the comment from one of my kids about how they felt like they were a part of the story- they could just see it happening in their minds. I would hate for the mostly dialog trend to trickle down to children’s books and have my students miss out on the joy of becoming part of a great story.

    Reply
  92. Personally, I find the trend toward more dialog and sex disconcerting. I have recently rediscovered historical romance after many years of reading exclusively romantic suspense. One of the things that drew me back to the genre of historical romance was the wonderful use of description of setting and character. I’ll admit, however, that it has to be well-written and not every author can successfully pull it off.
    I, too, will skim through paragraphs of sex. I choose not to read erotica. I prefer romance and tension, the inner conflict, all the things that lead up to the inevitable kiss that gives me goosebumps and butterflies in my stomach.
    Lastly, I’m a fourth grade teacher. I spend a fair amount of time talking to my students about making mental images and “movies in their heads.” I consider it a successful day when I hear or read the comment from one of my kids about how they felt like they were a part of the story- they could just see it happening in their minds. I would hate for the mostly dialog trend to trickle down to children’s books and have my students miss out on the joy of becoming part of a great story.

    Reply
  93. Personally, I find the trend toward more dialog and sex disconcerting. I have recently rediscovered historical romance after many years of reading exclusively romantic suspense. One of the things that drew me back to the genre of historical romance was the wonderful use of description of setting and character. I’ll admit, however, that it has to be well-written and not every author can successfully pull it off.
    I, too, will skim through paragraphs of sex. I choose not to read erotica. I prefer romance and tension, the inner conflict, all the things that lead up to the inevitable kiss that gives me goosebumps and butterflies in my stomach.
    Lastly, I’m a fourth grade teacher. I spend a fair amount of time talking to my students about making mental images and “movies in their heads.” I consider it a successful day when I hear or read the comment from one of my kids about how they felt like they were a part of the story- they could just see it happening in their minds. I would hate for the mostly dialog trend to trickle down to children’s books and have my students miss out on the joy of becoming part of a great story.

    Reply
  94. Personally, I find the trend toward more dialog and sex disconcerting. I have recently rediscovered historical romance after many years of reading exclusively romantic suspense. One of the things that drew me back to the genre of historical romance was the wonderful use of description of setting and character. I’ll admit, however, that it has to be well-written and not every author can successfully pull it off.
    I, too, will skim through paragraphs of sex. I choose not to read erotica. I prefer romance and tension, the inner conflict, all the things that lead up to the inevitable kiss that gives me goosebumps and butterflies in my stomach.
    Lastly, I’m a fourth grade teacher. I spend a fair amount of time talking to my students about making mental images and “movies in their heads.” I consider it a successful day when I hear or read the comment from one of my kids about how they felt like they were a part of the story- they could just see it happening in their minds. I would hate for the mostly dialog trend to trickle down to children’s books and have my students miss out on the joy of becoming part of a great story.

    Reply
  95. Personally, I find the trend toward more dialog and sex disconcerting. I have recently rediscovered historical romance after many years of reading exclusively romantic suspense. One of the things that drew me back to the genre of historical romance was the wonderful use of description of setting and character. I’ll admit, however, that it has to be well-written and not every author can successfully pull it off.
    I, too, will skim through paragraphs of sex. I choose not to read erotica. I prefer romance and tension, the inner conflict, all the things that lead up to the inevitable kiss that gives me goosebumps and butterflies in my stomach.
    Lastly, I’m a fourth grade teacher. I spend a fair amount of time talking to my students about making mental images and “movies in their heads.” I consider it a successful day when I hear or read the comment from one of my kids about how they felt like they were a part of the story- they could just see it happening in their minds. I would hate for the mostly dialog trend to trickle down to children’s books and have my students miss out on the joy of becoming part of a great story.

    Reply
  96. Ingrid, I suspect you may have hit on a valid point. Many of the wenches have come out of the Regency trenches and are very familiar with the details of Regency life. But newer authors were denied that opportunity, and authors who prefer to write medievals or westerns aren’t comfortable with Regency details, so they either fake it or leave it out entirely. I think if you can find any of the older Regency categories, you’ll probably get some decent clothing description.
    Loretta, you make a good point. I’m just reacting from the POV of an author who has submitted her ms to a very good critique group and never heard a complaint about her settings until the agent got it. I have a bit of a problem with agents acting like editors. “G” I’ll get over it.
    Patty, brava!!! I wish all teachers would follow your example. The more a reader becomes involved in a book, the more they learn from it, so this kind of training is absolutely invaluable!

    Reply
  97. Ingrid, I suspect you may have hit on a valid point. Many of the wenches have come out of the Regency trenches and are very familiar with the details of Regency life. But newer authors were denied that opportunity, and authors who prefer to write medievals or westerns aren’t comfortable with Regency details, so they either fake it or leave it out entirely. I think if you can find any of the older Regency categories, you’ll probably get some decent clothing description.
    Loretta, you make a good point. I’m just reacting from the POV of an author who has submitted her ms to a very good critique group and never heard a complaint about her settings until the agent got it. I have a bit of a problem with agents acting like editors. “G” I’ll get over it.
    Patty, brava!!! I wish all teachers would follow your example. The more a reader becomes involved in a book, the more they learn from it, so this kind of training is absolutely invaluable!

    Reply
  98. Ingrid, I suspect you may have hit on a valid point. Many of the wenches have come out of the Regency trenches and are very familiar with the details of Regency life. But newer authors were denied that opportunity, and authors who prefer to write medievals or westerns aren’t comfortable with Regency details, so they either fake it or leave it out entirely. I think if you can find any of the older Regency categories, you’ll probably get some decent clothing description.
    Loretta, you make a good point. I’m just reacting from the POV of an author who has submitted her ms to a very good critique group and never heard a complaint about her settings until the agent got it. I have a bit of a problem with agents acting like editors. “G” I’ll get over it.
    Patty, brava!!! I wish all teachers would follow your example. The more a reader becomes involved in a book, the more they learn from it, so this kind of training is absolutely invaluable!

    Reply
  99. Ingrid, I suspect you may have hit on a valid point. Many of the wenches have come out of the Regency trenches and are very familiar with the details of Regency life. But newer authors were denied that opportunity, and authors who prefer to write medievals or westerns aren’t comfortable with Regency details, so they either fake it or leave it out entirely. I think if you can find any of the older Regency categories, you’ll probably get some decent clothing description.
    Loretta, you make a good point. I’m just reacting from the POV of an author who has submitted her ms to a very good critique group and never heard a complaint about her settings until the agent got it. I have a bit of a problem with agents acting like editors. “G” I’ll get over it.
    Patty, brava!!! I wish all teachers would follow your example. The more a reader becomes involved in a book, the more they learn from it, so this kind of training is absolutely invaluable!

    Reply
  100. Ingrid, I suspect you may have hit on a valid point. Many of the wenches have come out of the Regency trenches and are very familiar with the details of Regency life. But newer authors were denied that opportunity, and authors who prefer to write medievals or westerns aren’t comfortable with Regency details, so they either fake it or leave it out entirely. I think if you can find any of the older Regency categories, you’ll probably get some decent clothing description.
    Loretta, you make a good point. I’m just reacting from the POV of an author who has submitted her ms to a very good critique group and never heard a complaint about her settings until the agent got it. I have a bit of a problem with agents acting like editors. “G” I’ll get over it.
    Patty, brava!!! I wish all teachers would follow your example. The more a reader becomes involved in a book, the more they learn from it, so this kind of training is absolutely invaluable!

    Reply
  101. Ingrid, if I can remember them, I’ll certainly post them. I’ll have to do some thinking though because books I don’t like get recycled right to my USB, never to be considered (I hope!) again. 😛
    And Loretta, News from your Credit Card Company? Too funny!!!

    Reply
  102. Ingrid, if I can remember them, I’ll certainly post them. I’ll have to do some thinking though because books I don’t like get recycled right to my USB, never to be considered (I hope!) again. 😛
    And Loretta, News from your Credit Card Company? Too funny!!!

    Reply
  103. Ingrid, if I can remember them, I’ll certainly post them. I’ll have to do some thinking though because books I don’t like get recycled right to my USB, never to be considered (I hope!) again. 😛
    And Loretta, News from your Credit Card Company? Too funny!!!

    Reply
  104. Ingrid, if I can remember them, I’ll certainly post them. I’ll have to do some thinking though because books I don’t like get recycled right to my USB, never to be considered (I hope!) again. 😛
    And Loretta, News from your Credit Card Company? Too funny!!!

    Reply
  105. Ingrid, if I can remember them, I’ll certainly post them. I’ll have to do some thinking though because books I don’t like get recycled right to my USB, never to be considered (I hope!) again. 😛
    And Loretta, News from your Credit Card Company? Too funny!!!

    Reply
  106. +JMJ+
    I like description, too, but not when it has the feel of an information dump.
    So I was surprised to hear that two of my friends would like as little description as possible in their fiction. They’re not very visual readers, they explained, and don’t want to “waste time” with what the characters look like and such. Strange to me! =S

    Reply
  107. +JMJ+
    I like description, too, but not when it has the feel of an information dump.
    So I was surprised to hear that two of my friends would like as little description as possible in their fiction. They’re not very visual readers, they explained, and don’t want to “waste time” with what the characters look like and such. Strange to me! =S

    Reply
  108. +JMJ+
    I like description, too, but not when it has the feel of an information dump.
    So I was surprised to hear that two of my friends would like as little description as possible in their fiction. They’re not very visual readers, they explained, and don’t want to “waste time” with what the characters look like and such. Strange to me! =S

    Reply
  109. +JMJ+
    I like description, too, but not when it has the feel of an information dump.
    So I was surprised to hear that two of my friends would like as little description as possible in their fiction. They’re not very visual readers, they explained, and don’t want to “waste time” with what the characters look like and such. Strange to me! =S

    Reply
  110. +JMJ+
    I like description, too, but not when it has the feel of an information dump.
    So I was surprised to hear that two of my friends would like as little description as possible in their fiction. They’re not very visual readers, they explained, and don’t want to “waste time” with what the characters look like and such. Strange to me! =S

    Reply
  111. Sigh, my reply just disappeared into the ether. I’ll attempt to replicate, but it may show up twice…
    Enbrethilliel, you have hit on another valid point. Some people aren’t visual, or haven’t been taught to visualize as Patty (above) teachers her class. They may prefer screen script. I’m just afraid too many readers are slipping in that direction. They’re not appreciating the whole book experience, and it’s a shame.

    Reply
  112. Sigh, my reply just disappeared into the ether. I’ll attempt to replicate, but it may show up twice…
    Enbrethilliel, you have hit on another valid point. Some people aren’t visual, or haven’t been taught to visualize as Patty (above) teachers her class. They may prefer screen script. I’m just afraid too many readers are slipping in that direction. They’re not appreciating the whole book experience, and it’s a shame.

    Reply
  113. Sigh, my reply just disappeared into the ether. I’ll attempt to replicate, but it may show up twice…
    Enbrethilliel, you have hit on another valid point. Some people aren’t visual, or haven’t been taught to visualize as Patty (above) teachers her class. They may prefer screen script. I’m just afraid too many readers are slipping in that direction. They’re not appreciating the whole book experience, and it’s a shame.

    Reply
  114. Sigh, my reply just disappeared into the ether. I’ll attempt to replicate, but it may show up twice…
    Enbrethilliel, you have hit on another valid point. Some people aren’t visual, or haven’t been taught to visualize as Patty (above) teachers her class. They may prefer screen script. I’m just afraid too many readers are slipping in that direction. They’re not appreciating the whole book experience, and it’s a shame.

    Reply
  115. Sigh, my reply just disappeared into the ether. I’ll attempt to replicate, but it may show up twice…
    Enbrethilliel, you have hit on another valid point. Some people aren’t visual, or haven’t been taught to visualize as Patty (above) teachers her class. They may prefer screen script. I’m just afraid too many readers are slipping in that direction. They’re not appreciating the whole book experience, and it’s a shame.

    Reply
  116. ++Come to think of it, that is a positive side effect of skipping descriptions. You make less gaffes.++
    Ingrid, you’re dead on with that. 🙂 I’m not great on detail and really not that into costume stuff, so going once over lightly also reduces my chances to mess up. 😉
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  117. ++Come to think of it, that is a positive side effect of skipping descriptions. You make less gaffes.++
    Ingrid, you’re dead on with that. 🙂 I’m not great on detail and really not that into costume stuff, so going once over lightly also reduces my chances to mess up. 😉
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  118. ++Come to think of it, that is a positive side effect of skipping descriptions. You make less gaffes.++
    Ingrid, you’re dead on with that. 🙂 I’m not great on detail and really not that into costume stuff, so going once over lightly also reduces my chances to mess up. 😉
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  119. ++Come to think of it, that is a positive side effect of skipping descriptions. You make less gaffes.++
    Ingrid, you’re dead on with that. 🙂 I’m not great on detail and really not that into costume stuff, so going once over lightly also reduces my chances to mess up. 😉
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  120. ++Come to think of it, that is a positive side effect of skipping descriptions. You make less gaffes.++
    Ingrid, you’re dead on with that. 🙂 I’m not great on detail and really not that into costume stuff, so going once over lightly also reduces my chances to mess up. 😉
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  121. Patricia, your point about some readers not being visual applies to writers too; I have seen many fan fiction pieces and even published books in which the author scrambled stuff down as fast as she could, assuming that because she could see it all in her mind, her readers could as well. Which they can’t, unless she puts it on the page.
    I also see many authors (some quite popular) who clearly have no ear for the rhythm of speech or good prose. I would speculate that they are younger than I, and were raised with TV as their main (if not only) entertainment resource, whereas I grew up with reading as a chief source of entertainment, and with TV as something I watched when I didn’t have anything really rivetting to read or just wanted to zone out.
    Anyway, too many people getting published today are tonedeaf and write very sketchily. One reason I like romances is that there seem to be fewer such writers in this field.

    Reply
  122. Patricia, your point about some readers not being visual applies to writers too; I have seen many fan fiction pieces and even published books in which the author scrambled stuff down as fast as she could, assuming that because she could see it all in her mind, her readers could as well. Which they can’t, unless she puts it on the page.
    I also see many authors (some quite popular) who clearly have no ear for the rhythm of speech or good prose. I would speculate that they are younger than I, and were raised with TV as their main (if not only) entertainment resource, whereas I grew up with reading as a chief source of entertainment, and with TV as something I watched when I didn’t have anything really rivetting to read or just wanted to zone out.
    Anyway, too many people getting published today are tonedeaf and write very sketchily. One reason I like romances is that there seem to be fewer such writers in this field.

    Reply
  123. Patricia, your point about some readers not being visual applies to writers too; I have seen many fan fiction pieces and even published books in which the author scrambled stuff down as fast as she could, assuming that because she could see it all in her mind, her readers could as well. Which they can’t, unless she puts it on the page.
    I also see many authors (some quite popular) who clearly have no ear for the rhythm of speech or good prose. I would speculate that they are younger than I, and were raised with TV as their main (if not only) entertainment resource, whereas I grew up with reading as a chief source of entertainment, and with TV as something I watched when I didn’t have anything really rivetting to read or just wanted to zone out.
    Anyway, too many people getting published today are tonedeaf and write very sketchily. One reason I like romances is that there seem to be fewer such writers in this field.

    Reply
  124. Patricia, your point about some readers not being visual applies to writers too; I have seen many fan fiction pieces and even published books in which the author scrambled stuff down as fast as she could, assuming that because she could see it all in her mind, her readers could as well. Which they can’t, unless she puts it on the page.
    I also see many authors (some quite popular) who clearly have no ear for the rhythm of speech or good prose. I would speculate that they are younger than I, and were raised with TV as their main (if not only) entertainment resource, whereas I grew up with reading as a chief source of entertainment, and with TV as something I watched when I didn’t have anything really rivetting to read or just wanted to zone out.
    Anyway, too many people getting published today are tonedeaf and write very sketchily. One reason I like romances is that there seem to be fewer such writers in this field.

    Reply
  125. Patricia, your point about some readers not being visual applies to writers too; I have seen many fan fiction pieces and even published books in which the author scrambled stuff down as fast as she could, assuming that because she could see it all in her mind, her readers could as well. Which they can’t, unless she puts it on the page.
    I also see many authors (some quite popular) who clearly have no ear for the rhythm of speech or good prose. I would speculate that they are younger than I, and were raised with TV as their main (if not only) entertainment resource, whereas I grew up with reading as a chief source of entertainment, and with TV as something I watched when I didn’t have anything really rivetting to read or just wanted to zone out.
    Anyway, too many people getting published today are tonedeaf and write very sketchily. One reason I like romances is that there seem to be fewer such writers in this field.

    Reply
  126. I enjoy – and need – some description before I can settle into the story. Otherwise, I’m left floating around with no mental images to move around my imagination! When the descriptions reach Dickensian proportions, I quit reading. *g* But that rarely happens nowadays. We are in a society that values “getting to the point.” We don’t want to waste a lot of time, just get the facts most relevant to the big point and move on with our lives. We want everything in text message code! Novels are where we need to preserve the right to slow down and enjoy the ride. What would novels like Jane Eyre be without the weather, for goodness’ sake?!
    Great post today!

    Reply
  127. I enjoy – and need – some description before I can settle into the story. Otherwise, I’m left floating around with no mental images to move around my imagination! When the descriptions reach Dickensian proportions, I quit reading. *g* But that rarely happens nowadays. We are in a society that values “getting to the point.” We don’t want to waste a lot of time, just get the facts most relevant to the big point and move on with our lives. We want everything in text message code! Novels are where we need to preserve the right to slow down and enjoy the ride. What would novels like Jane Eyre be without the weather, for goodness’ sake?!
    Great post today!

    Reply
  128. I enjoy – and need – some description before I can settle into the story. Otherwise, I’m left floating around with no mental images to move around my imagination! When the descriptions reach Dickensian proportions, I quit reading. *g* But that rarely happens nowadays. We are in a society that values “getting to the point.” We don’t want to waste a lot of time, just get the facts most relevant to the big point and move on with our lives. We want everything in text message code! Novels are where we need to preserve the right to slow down and enjoy the ride. What would novels like Jane Eyre be without the weather, for goodness’ sake?!
    Great post today!

    Reply
  129. I enjoy – and need – some description before I can settle into the story. Otherwise, I’m left floating around with no mental images to move around my imagination! When the descriptions reach Dickensian proportions, I quit reading. *g* But that rarely happens nowadays. We are in a society that values “getting to the point.” We don’t want to waste a lot of time, just get the facts most relevant to the big point and move on with our lives. We want everything in text message code! Novels are where we need to preserve the right to slow down and enjoy the ride. What would novels like Jane Eyre be without the weather, for goodness’ sake?!
    Great post today!

    Reply
  130. I enjoy – and need – some description before I can settle into the story. Otherwise, I’m left floating around with no mental images to move around my imagination! When the descriptions reach Dickensian proportions, I quit reading. *g* But that rarely happens nowadays. We are in a society that values “getting to the point.” We don’t want to waste a lot of time, just get the facts most relevant to the big point and move on with our lives. We want everything in text message code! Novels are where we need to preserve the right to slow down and enjoy the ride. What would novels like Jane Eyre be without the weather, for goodness’ sake?!
    Great post today!

    Reply
  131. I’m old enough that the television era of knowing what things look like was not part of the way I read. I love well done descriptions that allow me to “see” the images in my head and that also give me information and understanding of life in that time.
    As for sex- well I usually skip over it and don’t buy books that are clearly full of it. I read for the emotional not the physical, and specific physical descriptions bore me and annoy me. “His throbbing member” and “her nipples hardened” etc- are to me a waste of paper and ink. Give me someone who can create strong emotion without all that- there’s a writer! Patricia Veryan was particularly good at protraying this.
    So, I want description!

    Reply
  132. I’m old enough that the television era of knowing what things look like was not part of the way I read. I love well done descriptions that allow me to “see” the images in my head and that also give me information and understanding of life in that time.
    As for sex- well I usually skip over it and don’t buy books that are clearly full of it. I read for the emotional not the physical, and specific physical descriptions bore me and annoy me. “His throbbing member” and “her nipples hardened” etc- are to me a waste of paper and ink. Give me someone who can create strong emotion without all that- there’s a writer! Patricia Veryan was particularly good at protraying this.
    So, I want description!

    Reply
  133. I’m old enough that the television era of knowing what things look like was not part of the way I read. I love well done descriptions that allow me to “see” the images in my head and that also give me information and understanding of life in that time.
    As for sex- well I usually skip over it and don’t buy books that are clearly full of it. I read for the emotional not the physical, and specific physical descriptions bore me and annoy me. “His throbbing member” and “her nipples hardened” etc- are to me a waste of paper and ink. Give me someone who can create strong emotion without all that- there’s a writer! Patricia Veryan was particularly good at protraying this.
    So, I want description!

    Reply
  134. I’m old enough that the television era of knowing what things look like was not part of the way I read. I love well done descriptions that allow me to “see” the images in my head and that also give me information and understanding of life in that time.
    As for sex- well I usually skip over it and don’t buy books that are clearly full of it. I read for the emotional not the physical, and specific physical descriptions bore me and annoy me. “His throbbing member” and “her nipples hardened” etc- are to me a waste of paper and ink. Give me someone who can create strong emotion without all that- there’s a writer! Patricia Veryan was particularly good at protraying this.
    So, I want description!

    Reply
  135. I’m old enough that the television era of knowing what things look like was not part of the way I read. I love well done descriptions that allow me to “see” the images in my head and that also give me information and understanding of life in that time.
    As for sex- well I usually skip over it and don’t buy books that are clearly full of it. I read for the emotional not the physical, and specific physical descriptions bore me and annoy me. “His throbbing member” and “her nipples hardened” etc- are to me a waste of paper and ink. Give me someone who can create strong emotion without all that- there’s a writer! Patricia Veryan was particularly good at protraying this.
    So, I want description!

    Reply

Leave a Comment