When to stop

If many scenes in a novel are set in a garden or in the woods, is it OK to sketchily describe the details? That is, does the author name the flowers, shrubs, and trees during the narrative? It depends upon what the author is up to. If the details are secondary to the matter at hand, then it is acceptable even though a close reading may show the omission as a careless lack. The author may hope the reader won’t mind for she has given the reader other fish to fry.

One of the challenges of writing is deciding what to put in and what to leave out. The writer must eventually end the decision process if she desires a readership for her work.

Our emotions play an important role in our decision making processes. If we were never attached emotionally to our goals, we would analyze our options forever. People whose emotions are detached from their decision making ability suffer a severe mental handicap.

This might indicate that a writer must always be emotionally attached to a work if she ever hopes to complete it. I think George Orwell said he did his best writing when he was angry about something. It may have attuned his sense of what to put in, what to leave out, and when to stop.

So, when to stop? How about now?

Published in: on November 13, 2007 at 1:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

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