aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

The importance of concrete details

John Gardner, in The Art of Fiction, writes about the importance of using details, and concrete ones at that.

"“If the writer says 'creatures' instead of 'snakes,' if in an attempt to impress us with fancy talk he uses Latinate terms like “hostile maneuvers instead of sharp Anglo-Saxon words like 'thrash,' 'coil,' 'hiss,' 'spit' and 'writhe,' if instead of the deserts sand and rocks he speaks of the snakes’ 'inhospitable abode,' the reader will hardly know what picture to conjure up on his mental screen. These two faults, insufficient detail and abstractions where what is needed is concrete detail are common - in fact all but universal - in amateur writing."

Even if what I write is "junk" according to Gardner, I agree with that passage.

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