Asked • 06/25/19

What are the limits to description in story writing? How do I know if I have crossed them?

Time and time again, I have been told that my unfounded focus on description distracts from the main story line. I mostly write stories in English, which doesn't happen to be my first language but I'm fairly good in it. My native tongue is a very colourful one, full of interesting idioms and sentence structures. I'm more of the chatty, girlish teen type, and so I tend to be annoyingly descriptive in my language. And that extends to all the other languages I speak.Now every time I manage to scribble off a piece that's remotely worthy of civilised beings' time, it is deemed "purple". Not unexpectedly, given my tendency to be overly descriptive at times. However, I do try my utmost not to clutter the text with elaborate, beauteous descriptions of elements that bear next to no significance to the plot in the long-run. The problem is when I immerse myself into writing, I cannot forego the temptation to for example, do justice to the long, lustrous locks of my otherwise average protagonist. >It took all of what she had to restrain from even so much as stealing a quick glance at her flushed, bony limbs. A blow of cool, spring breeze tickled Sabrina's ears, and whooshed aside a stray curl covering her left cheek. Instead of feeling revitalised, a surge of irritation rippled within her, which manifested itself in her sudden moans of annoyance and shuffling uneasily in the rickshaw seat. Sabrina had spent the better half of that morning painstakingly ensuring that that curl stayed fastened to its rightful place. Apparently, the clip had slid down her watery waves of decidedly unimpressive plain, crow-black hair. Cursing the silkiness of her slick, stick-straight hair, she moved onto focusing on the wide roads of concrete they whirled past.So how should I go about disciplining myself to write with more consideration?###What are the limits to description in story writing? How do I know if I have crossed them? **EDIT**Keep in mind that the sample text used to illustrate my point is just something I came up with while writing this question. So it is not at all a true representation of my actual writing skills and I would request you not to base your thoughts on me as a writer solely on that little tidbit.

1 Expert Answer

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Christine S. answered • 06/25/19

Fun and reliable

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