Words and more words.

Yes. Words. What else can you expect on the blog of a bunch of writers?

Words and phrases
Words and phrases

It’s amazing what words can do. No matter who you are, you probably use them.

Writers use lots of them, for your entertainment (and in my case also for my own!).

Each time when I read a book, I can marvel at the way words have been used to create the story, to bring life to characters, to paint scenes and places, and to show me ‘where we are’.

Nude man in cape

It’s also fun to see how these things are done. Some authors go in at the deep end, detailing each bit of the scene or the area, or how someone looks or acts. Others are more spartan about that, giving the reader just the most needed hints about a place or a person, and they leave the rest to our imagination. (I try to be in the latter category, for reasons.)

For instance, take the man here on the right. How to describe him. He’s muscular. Tanned. Nude but not nude, because he wears a cape and boots. That’s how I would describe him.

Yes, he has a sixpack stomach, the light reflects on his body, showing his amazing physique, he has a small beard and short, black hair. Probably black eyes too. Does that fully describe him? Did you notice he might be in flight? Or isn’t he in flight, is he just hovering there? After all, the cape doesn’t seem to flap around him, which it would do if the man was flying. Right? Or wrong?

E-reader or books, it’s up to you.

This is a small idea of the power of words. This makes writing awesome – and reading equally so, because the words on the page (or the screen of an e-reader) will bring the man in the boots and the cape alive.

The more detail, the more life, perhaps, but leaving something to the reader’s imagination is precious as well. That, however, presents a fine line between doing it right and doing it wrong.

There’s a danger in suddenly throwing a detail about a subject into the writing arena that is important. It might completely disrupt the view that the reader already created of the person, place or item in question. I’ve experienced it only a few times, but the effect can be quite jarring. Even worse: if it happens more than once or twice in a book, I’m inclined to stop reading, because then I am more hunting for the next whoops than enjoying the story.

Such is the power of words. They can make reading a wonderful experience. Luckily, most stories are like that. As to the level of detail that’s in a story: that’s up to the author. As long as it serves a purpose.

Happy reading!

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