Tactile

One of the things I most envy about artists is their ability to produce a visual that, sometimes, tells an entire story in one frame. I can write 100,000 words, and will often fall short of the intensity of one painting. And since I ‘see’ everything I write or read, I very much wish that I could watch a depiction of a character or place take shape under my hands.

It’s the same thing with touch. I can spend 1000 words describing a small square of the finest silk, colored with the rarest dyes and the shade of a desert sunset, but that will never compare to holding it in my hand and experiencing it. The same thing with music, or scent.

But, I can come close. I love writers who take the time to paint images. That’s part of the reason I love Anne Bishop’s Dark Jewels series: I can see the story in vivid detail. I love getting lost in the color, the sound, the taste. Go ahead, tell me what your characters had for dinner. I don’t need to know everything they ate this week, but give me one dinner. Tell me about the rice steamed with dates, plums, saffron and spices, the roasted lamb stuffed with vegetables and herbs and grain, the wine that tastes and looks like distilled sunlight. Those are the things that give me something to set the story against.

Then again, I genuinely enjoyed War and Peace.

How much description do you like in your reading? Do you want to know what’s for dinner, or just that dinner will be had? Who gives really vivid images?

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