The descriptive details, that is.
I signed up for an online course on writing descriptive settings this week, as I am finding that description is a real weakness for me.
When I am writing, I can see a scene or a character perfectly in my head, but when I transfer the physical details to words, I think my descriptions are lacking. I have a terrible time describing the clothes characters are wearing, or the details of where they are, whether that be an office, their home, or somewhere outdoors. My biggest problem is I find myself getting stuck on using the same words again and again, so I wind up scrapping the whole thing and ending up with a blank page.
I read a lot, to put it mildly, and I have started paying close attention to the way the writers I am reading describe the details of their characters and locations. I know how important this is for bringing a story to life, and I want to improve my skills in this area. But I also want to avoid over-doing it, as I have often found myself bored with stories that go into so much descriptive detail that I feel like the book is more about the physical description of a location than it is about the characters and plot.
At the same time, I am not a fan of what I consider "flowery" writing, so I want to be able to convey the physical details of scenes and characters without going overboard with unusual words. Along those lines, I have always liked this quote from Stephen King:
"Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule."
I suppose when it comes to description, I struggle with how much is too much and how much is not enough. I feel much more comfortable writing dialogue, and about the emotional aspects of characters and their actions, but I know I need to include physical details as well.
Does anyone else have trouble with this issue? If so, can you suggest any tips or resources that have been helpful to you?