Monday, July 11, 2005

Is DESCRIPTION Really Needed?


If you have Action and Dialogue, do you really NEED Description too? What is the difference?

Let me show you...
The Layers of Fiction

Dialogue Only
"Himawari-chan, I have your lunch!"

"Ah, Watanuki-kun!"

"Here you go Himawari-chan!"

"Thank you, Watanuki-kun!"

"You are very welcome, Himawari-chan."

"I see. Of course. Thank you, Yuuko-san. Do I need to tell you what she said?"

"No! No, you don't, and I don't want to hear it! I don't need a freaking baby-sitter!"

"Yuuko thinks you do."

"That's her! Not me!"

"Are you a fortune-teller?"

"No! Of course not!"

"I'll come get you after class. I'll get the instructor to let you wait while I practice."

"What? No! I said I don't want to wait…!"

"You gonna eat that?"

"Yes I am!"

"Tea."

"I do not, not, NOT take orders from you!"
This is "Talking Head Syndrome". There are no dialogue tags because I don’t use them.


ACTION with Dialogue
Lunch time found Kimihiro walking around to the back of the school carrying the three lacquered wood bento boxes.

Himawari was already at their chosen spot.

Kimihiro couldn't help but grin from ear to ear. He waved. "Himawari-chan, I have your lunch!"

Himawari looked over at Kimihiro smiled. "Ah, Watanuki-kun!"

Doumeki came from around the opposite corner of the building. He was talking on his cell phone, or rather, grunting into it.

Kimihiro sighed.

Doumeki's gaze found Kimihiro's and his eyes narrowed.

Kimihiro felt the small hairs on his arms lift. He turned away to unwrap the bento boxes and offered Himawari a box. "Here you go Himawari-chan!"

Smiling, Himawari took the box from Kimihiro without making any physical contact. "Thank you, Watanuki-kun!"

"You are very welcome, Himawari-chan." Watanuki sighed and pulled out cups.

Doumeki strode up to stand before Kimihiro. "I see. Of course. Thank you, Yuuko-san."

Kimihiro looked up and his mouth fell open. The iced tea he was pouring spilled slightly over his hand. He grabbed for a paper napkin to wipe at the small mess.

Doumeki snapped the small phone closed, and tucked it into the front fold of his gi. He held out his hand.

Kimihiro shoved the bento box at him.

Doumeki took the box from Kimihiro's hands and his gaze narrowed on Kimihiro's face. "Do I need to tell you what she said?"

"No! No, you don't, and I don't want to hear it!" Kimihiro turned away and flopped cross-legged onto the spread blanket at Himawari's side. "I don't need a freaking baby-sitter!" He pried open his bento box.

Doumeki moved to Kimihiro's immediate right and stepped into the space between Kimihiro and Himawari. He settled cross-legged on the blanket with a grunt, seating himself between them.

Watanuki rolled his eyes.

Doumeki turned and his gaze locked on Kimihiro's. "Yuuko thinks you do."

Kimihiro felt his hackles lift. He scooted back. "That's her! Not me!"

Doumeki's gaze narrowed to slits. "Are you a fortune-teller?"

Kimihiro stared at him. "No! Of course not!"

"I'll come get you after class." He turned away to pry open his lunch box. "I'll get the instructor to let you wait while I practice."

Kimihiro stared at him open mouthed. "What? No! I said I don't want to wait…!"

Doumeki picked up the chopsticks and started shoveling food into his mouth with one hand. He plugged the ear on Kimihiro's side with the pinky finger of the other.

Kimihiro ranted and raved until he was red in the face.

Doumeki continued to eat with one ear plugged.

Kimihiro added kicks and gestures to his gripes and complaints, and even tried writhing on the ground.

Doumeki turned to face Kimihiro. "You gonna eat that?" He pointed at Kimihiro's full bento box.

Kimihiro grabbed for his food. "Yes I am!" He snatched up his chopsticks and stabbed it into his box. Glaring at the larger boy, he shoved the piece of food into his mouth and chewed.

Himawari burst into giggles.

Doumeki held out his hand. "Tea."

Kimihiro reached for the thermos and a tea cup then froze. He turned to glare Doumeki.

Doumeki continued to hold out his hand, his gaze unwavering.

Kimihiro handed him the cup of tea.

Doumeki took the cup of tea, and the slightest of smiles curved his mouth.

A hard shiver skittered up Kimihiro's spine. He jerked his gaze away.

Doumeki's gaze drifted down to his teacup, and announced what he'd like for tomorrow's lunch.

"I do not, not, NOT take orders from you!"

Doumeki's reply was yet another smile.

Himawari giggled.

Tanpopo chirped.
In the first one, you could HEAR what was happening, like a Radio Show. In the second one you could HEAR and SEE what was happening, like a black and white TV.

Shall we put it on the Big Screen?


DESCRIPTION with Action, & Dialogue
Lunch time found Kimihiro walking around to the back of the school carrying the three lacquered wood bento boxes wrapped in a large cloth in one hand, and the thermos of chilled jasmine tea in the other.

Himawari was already at their chosen spot under the tree. She knelt on the small picnic blanket, neat and prim in her stark black skirt and white summer top, while talking cheerfully to her tiny bright yellow bird, Tanpopo, Dandilion. The ultra-feminine black coils of her sumptuous mane spilled down her back and tumbled down around her lap. Two small coiling tails bound with yellow bows framed either side of her impishly sweet face.

Kimihiro couldn't help but grin from ear to ear. So cuuute! Himawari was everything a pretty girl should be, and she was just as sweet as she appeared. He waved. "Himawari-chan, I have your lunch!"

If only she didn't have that…condition.

Himawari looked over at Kimihiro and her smile was as bright as the sun. "Ah, Watanuki-kun!"

The tall, broad-shouldered, and pointedly masculine form of Doumeki came from around the opposite corner of the building. His short-cropped black hair gleamed blue in the sunlight. He was dressed in the white keiko-gi top and ground-sweeping black hakima trousers of his Kyudo, archery club uniform. Apparently, he'd spent the last period at the archery range. He was talking on his cell phone, or rather, grunting into it. His gaze was somewhere off in the distance and lips were turned slightly downward.

Kimihiro sighed. That was Doumeki for you. He appeared to only ever show one of two expressions, if he had an expression, an almost-scowl, or an almost-smirk. Of the two, the smirk was worse; it was downright disturbing.

Doumeki's gaze found Kimihiro's and his golden eyes narrowed.

Kimihiro felt the small hairs on his arms lift. He's staring at me in that creepy way again. It was enough to very nearly sour Kimihiro's appetite.

Yuuko had once asked him, "What don't you like about Doumeki?"

Kimihiro couldn't very well tell her… "Because he stares at me like, he wants to hit me or do something…else, something embarrassing and vulgar. When he smirks, it's worse. It's like, he's laughing at me, and about to do something vulgar. On top of that, when he actually talks what he says never goes with the look on his face. And he does it all the damned time!"

It sounded stupid even in his thoughts.

He turned away to unwrap the bento boxes, slapped on a sunny smile strictly for Himawari, and offered her a box. "Here you go Himawari-chan!"

Smiling, Himawari took the box from Kimihiro without making any physical contact. "Thank you, Watanuki-kun!"

"You are very welcome, Himawari-chan." Watanuki sighed in contentment and pulled out the small plastic cups for the tea. Lunch with sweet, adorable, completely predictable Himawari was the highlight of his entire day.

Doumeki strode up to stand before Kimihiro and his voice deepened to a base growl. "I see. Of course. Thank you, Yuuko-san."

Kimihiro looked up at his nemesis and his mouth fell open in shock. Doumeki was talking to Yuuko? The iced tea he was pouring spilled slightly over his hand. Startled, he grabbed for a paper napkin to wipe at the small mess. He knew, he just knew, Yuuko had told Doumeki to walk him back. That conniving, controlling, over-protective…

Doumeki snapped the small phone closed, and tucked it into the front fold of his gi. He held out his hand, clearly asking for the bento at Kimihiro's side.

Selfish bastard… Furious, Kimihiro shoved the bento box at him.

Doumeki took the box from Kimihiro's hands and his gaze narrowed on Kimihiro's face. "Do I need to tell you what she said?"

"No! No, you don't, and I don't want to hear it!" Kimihiro turned away and flopped cross-legged onto the spread blanket at Himawari's side. He would not, would not, look at him. "I don't need a freaking baby-sitter!" He pried open his bento box, determined to eat and enjoy some cheerful conversation with Himawari.

Doumeki moved to Kimihiro's immediate right and stepped into the space between Kimihiro and Himawari. He settled cross-legged on the blanket with a grunt, seating himself between them.

Watanuki rolled his eyes. One might suppose that Doumeki was merely keeping the two from coming into accidental physical contact, which would trigger Himawari's rather volatile and highly dangerous condition. However, Watanuki knew for a fact that Doumeki had done it simply to annoy him.

Doumeki turned and his golden gaze locked on Kimihiro's. He was so close Kimihiro could actually feel his body heat. The scent of soap and temple incense drifted from him. "Yuuko thinks you do."

Kimihiro felt his hackles lift. He scooted back, away from Doumeki's unnervingly warm presence. "That's her! Not me!"

Doumeki's gaze narrowed to hard gold slits. "Are you a fortune-teller?"

Fortune-teller? Kimihiro stared at him. What the hell…? "No! Of course not!"

"I'll come get you after class." He turned away to pry open his flat black lunch box. "I'll get the instructor to let you wait while I practice."

Kimihiro stared at him open mouthed. "What? No! I said I don't want to wait…!"

Doumeki picked up the chopsticks and started shoveling food into his mouth with one hand. He plugged the ear on Kimihiro's side with the pinky finger of the other. Clearly, Doumeki was not listening.

Kimihiro ranted and raved until he was red in the face.

Doumeki continued to eat with one ear plugged.

Kimihiro added kicks and gestures to his gripes and complaints, and even tried writhing on the ground.

Doumeki turned to face Kimihiro with absolutely no expression on his face what so ever. "You gonna eat that?" He pointed at Kimihiro's full bento box with his chopsticks.

Kimihiro grabbed for his food. "Yes I am!" He snatched up his chopsticks and stabbed it into his box blindly. Glaring at the larger boy, he shoved the piece of food into his mouth and chewed with extra emphasis.

Himawari burst into giggles.

Still completely expressionless, Doumeki held out his hand. "Tea."

Kimihiro reached for the thermos and a tea cup then froze. Son of a...! Who does he think I am, his damned wife? He turned to glare at the overgrown pain in his butt.

Doumeki continued to hold out his hand, his gaze unwavering and clearly expectant.

Kimihiro handed him the cup of tea.

Doumeki took the cup of tea, and the slightest of satisfied smiles curved the very edge of his mouth.

A hard shiver skittered up Kimihiro's spine. He jerked his gaze away. He hated it when Doumeki looked at him like that; like he'd done something both pleasing and perverted at the same time.

Doumeki's gaze drifted down to his teacup, and in a completely emotionless voice, he announced what he'd like for tomorrow's lunch.

Kimihiro very nearly threw his bento box at him. "I do not, not, NOT take orders from you!"

Doumeki's reply was yet another of those smug half-smirks.

Himawari's giggling and Tanpopo's amused chirping did not make Kimihiro feel any better.
Why did I not include Internal Narration
-- Until I got to the Description layer?
 
Because Internal Narration is the POV character's opinion of the events happening around them.

Most authors include Internal Narration; but many, MANY of the same authors forget that the POV character's physical observations -- what they see, and experience -- belongs in there too, not just what they thought about it.

Once you add Description to your Dialogue and Action, you add depth perception. Instead of the reader merely being an observer, someone who can hear and see what's going on like a movie, Description allows the reader to step into your characters' skin and become a participant in the story.

Get it? Got it? GOOD!

Enjoy!

For WHERE & HOW MUCH Description to put in...
Go To: Tricks to Tight 'Sneaky' DESCRIPTION


Morgan Hawke
www.darkerotica.net
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

6 comments:

  1. Morgan,

    You probably have the best writer's site I've seen so far. Your tips on writing are detailed, entertaining and educational. You should really write a how-to book. I'd buy it. LOL.

    Hugs,
    Jill

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey everybody!
    - D - Thank you! I sure thinks so, (that's why I keep Bitching about it.)

    - RG - Oh, thank you RG! I KNOW how much you like description in your stories.

    - JillNoelle - Thank you so much! I AM writing a How-To book on Writing. In fact, the publisher has it, and its under edit now -- for PRINT distribution. As soon as I get a target date for release I'll post all about it.

    Morgan Hawke

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am not sure I agree. [g] But I'll am sure willing to discuss.

    I am going to think on it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Janie,
    - Why WOULDN'T you want description in a story?

    Morgan

    ReplyDelete