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View Full Version : Is it necessary to describe a simple room or buildin?



whit19
2nd November 2005, 11:51 PM
I shoulda asked this question a long time ago...

Is it really necessary to describe somethin like a school buildin or a classroom or a character's house (unless it's somethin really different from all the other houses in the area) or all the rooms in the house?

katiekitten
2nd November 2005, 11:58 PM
Well, I tend to describe my surroundings. It helps to flash out the story a bit, so readers know where they were. If it is a class room, you don't need to as much. We all know what one looks like, so you only need to put in the occasional sentence to what the place is looked like, like where the windows are. That's my opinion. :)

Ledian_X
3rd November 2005, 12:01 AM
It really helps to describe the surroundings as it gives a reader a mental picture of whaere people are in relation to each other and what the background is, too.

LX

Negrek
3rd November 2005, 2:39 AM
It depends. It all depends on how the character feels about the scenery, and how they respond to it. If a person has never been to a place before and are overawed by something about it, then you should go into detail. If it's something mundane and boring to them, or so familiar that they don't even notice it any more, then you shouldn't go to a lot of length to describe it. Also, if your character is lost in thought and wouldn't notice anything about the room, or if they are moving too quickly to take stock of their surroundings, description should be minimal.

For example, let's see a do and a don't.

Do describe through action, response, and emotion:


Nick staggered into the pokémon center, clutching his drenched raincoat around hismelf and shivering. The bright lights and cheerful colors that dominated the building's interior were a welcome change from the harsh, gray environment of the city outside, currently being lashed by torrential rain. Focused completely on getting to the desk and getting his pokémon healed, he strode quickly across the lobby, dripping quietly as he did so--and promptly tripped over a pupitar that was slowly and laboriously crawling across the tile. Growling, Nick pulled himself back to his feet and stumbled against the reception desk, already reaching for the pokéballs containing his direly injured pokémon.

Don't add extraneous details, use static description, or just list stuff:


Nick staggered into the pokémon center, clutching his drenched raincoat around himself and shivering. The room that he had entered was bright and cheery, the walls a flat white but given life by numerous exciting posters tacked up across their broad expanse. The lobby of the pokémon center was mostly a waiting area, furnished with numerous comfortable pieces of furniture upon which listless trainers reclined, awaiting the return of their pokémon. The floor itself was tiled in a neat red-and-white checkerboard pattern. Directly across from him was the tall reception desk, his final destination, and behind that, a cheerfully smiling nurse.

Bleah, not that good, but the best I could come up with on short notice. That help any?

Psychic
3rd November 2005, 3:57 AM
I have very strong opinions on description, so my philosophy is to describe everything.

See, if you want your story to seem as real, as three-dimentional as possible, then the reader has to be able to visualize everything in their head. The only way for them to see the fic is if you provide them with the description. Your reader isn't supposed to be guessing what everything looks like-you should be giving them strict guidlines, telling them what they should be seeing.
I like to think of a story, a scene as a picture you are trying to paint for your readers. YOU have to provide them with the materials-the canvas and paper as the main base, being the backbone of the story, the shape of whatever is to be drawn on the paper is the plot, and the paints, the colors, is the description and character work. Without the right blend of colors and good shading you won't have the desired effect on your readers.

So I suppose you can guess what my view on this is. XD


But all metaphors aside, I think that your characters' surroundings are very important. If you want your readers to feel like they're actually in the story, standing right next to the character, then they need to know just where the character is and what its like there.

Describing surroundings also helps create a mood, which is always something you want to set so that your reader can get a good feel of the story.

Plus, if it's in a home setting, then the appearance of the building also hints as to the personality of one of more characters. It can also hint the social class of the family-how rich or poor they are. So the quality of a character's living place also gives insight as to what kind of person they are, how they live their life and even the way the think, as well as their finacial status to boot.


A LOT of people make the mistake of totally leaving out description for buildings, which is really bad. Just about every trainer fic starts off with a kid getting out of bed, getting dressed, running downstairs, sometimes eating breakfast and then running out the door to the nearest Pokémon Lab, and just about every one I see doesn't say a word of what the house is like, often saying (after I ask them) that it's just a 'normal house'. The truth is, everyone thinks of a 'normal house' differently. No two houses are the same, because everyone takes care of their home differently.



I know all I really said was about houses, but it can apply for other things as well, if you think about it.



With a Pokémon Center, I think you should always provide description, to give it an atmosphere and make it a place for trainers to rest and relax after a long day's training. In Negrek's example, it was a shelter from the elements, a place to rest after walking all day in the rain (which can represent misrey.
You'd be surprised with what can happen in a PokéCenter-all kinds of people can be there, if you describe them, there could be events announced there and all kinds of things. If a trainer is feeling distracted and caught up in their thoughts, they could see something in their surroundings that the writer can use to relate to the current mood of the character.



So you see, describing the settings is a way to provide all kinds of insight into the world of your character. You can twist this in so many ways so easily to fit any of your needs. Granted, you don't have to describe a bookshelf in a classroom in great detail, but with enough creativity you can take all kinds of paints to create the perfect picture.

~Psychic

Klaus
3rd November 2005, 6:20 AM
Well there are two ways of going about it. It would be nice because readers can see your world.

But, the one way it gets annoying is if someone does this:

She walked it. The wall was white. THe floor was orange. The ceiling was blue. The cannibal in the corner was drooling.

You know, naming every bloody thing in the dern room.

IT should be like: She walked into the white walled room and gazed at the blue ceiling and then began easing forward, walking on the orange floor.

SOme times it's nice but other times it gets annoying. SO, just where you think fit.

As always, Run Taylor Save That TREE!

Shiny Spoink
5th November 2005, 9:11 PM
Okay, this isnt usually correct

For funny meaningless stories, never talk about those, just make the character say: WHY THE HECK IS THE FLOOR ORANGE!!!!or something like that
For the opposite...im not sure, ive never made a good fic

Dragonfree
5th November 2005, 10:06 PM
It depends on the importance, really. You're going to bore your reader to death if every scene includes a detailed description of something the character simply walks past and will never see again. If the story starts with the character leaving his house and the house is never seen again aside from a brief mention in that scene, there is no need to start excessively describing it. However, if the house is of some importance, it's best to describe it.

Yamato-san
6th November 2005, 4:34 AM
being a scripter, I try keeping my descriptions to a minimum. They aren't stated in any lengthy, metaphorical, symbolic manners like in narratives, and all they're meant to be is something to put a basic image in the readers' head. However, I also try hard to give my story a genuine Japanese setting, and considering not everyone's familiar with Japanese scenery, I really make an effort at that as well, yet still keeping things simple. I also wish to have a sense of realism, so every now and then, I'll mention a small detail like a random car passing by on the road.

billy5772
6th November 2005, 8:10 AM
I agree with Negrek. When you describe through action the story's still moving. With static description, it feels more like you're wasting time. Personally, I don't like to describe heavily things that have no consequence. If it adds to the atmosphere of the scene to describe the building/wtvr, then it's good. If it is just description for description's sake, then eh.

Burnt Flower
6th November 2005, 10:48 PM
I reaaaaaaally hate describing rooms/buildings and sometimes even scenery. I find this so tediously boring and I almost always doze off if a fic describes a damn mundane room too much. x.x I describe a building with a few adjectives(though it might be a mistake) and just leave it at that.

My reaction is almost always this: "Argh, do I have to describe it?!" while bashing my head with my keyboard.

Psychic
7th November 2005, 12:31 AM
Well, I don't think you should ever be going out of your way to describe something useless. If you want your story to continue flowing properly you can't be comstantly stoping to add in meaningless description.

True, not all buldings play an important role in the story, and just randomly stoping to describe a couch is silly, but if you can slip it in-any time you can slip any description in-then you should. I think it just really helps out your reader and makes them feel more into the story if they can picture more of it in their heads.

~Psychic