Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Booking Through Thursday and a different question is posted every week.
Connected to last week’s—it’s one of the ways writing has changed. Books from a century or two ago spent huge swaths of text describing locations and character traits, but modern writing does all of this in shorthand. You might know a character is short with blond hair and blue eyes, but the author leaves the rest for you to figure out on your own. The writer might tell you the story takes place at a beachside town, but leaves the details to your imagination. Why do you suppose this is? Is it that we have shorter attention spans these days? That, bombarded with video and photos as we are, we don’t NEED every detail of an unknown scene described, because we have a stock of images already in our heads?
This is a really interesting question.
I definitely think that attention span is an important point. Of course I can only speak for myself, but I find if I get too bogged down in detail- character detail, setting detail, etc, it slows everything up. I want to gather those things from the actual feel of what's going on, of the atmosphere. I want to be shown, not told.
I feel that a lot of authors fall pray to info- dumping. Just dumping a massive amount of say- backstory, on us all at once. Like, ah this character has a troubled past- I shall tell you all about it for these ten pages and never mention it again.
So I definitely believe we don't need every single detail, our minds fill in a lot of the blanks from things we've read in the past.