As I have said before, as a writer, I try to be very descriptive because of my artistic background. By descriptive, I mean I use a lot of words and sentences to strongly suggest or lead the reader to visualize the scene I wrote in their head. However, I do not use this only to paint a visual in my reader’s mind, I also use this to paint emotions as well.
To paint an image for a reader you have to find references that most can grasp through life experiences, which is why some books can mean so much more upon rereading. Once you have seen similar images to those the writer had, the story becomes much more alive to you. The same can be said for emotions. If you read a densely written book in your youth, where lots of emotional events are explored deeply, you may say it is slow or drags on. Read the same book years later, after living through many life changing dramas, suddenly the story is gripping and insightful.
With my writing I try to paint the reader an image of the emotion. For example in “Sanity”, the first story I posted here, I wanted to express what it feels like to be an obsessively clean person thrown into a situation where grime, filth, and disease cannot be avoided no matter how hard they tried. I wanted to make the readers skin crawl when filthy unwashed hands caressed the main character, give them the sense of revulsion he felt. In addition, the nature of the story also dealt with the loss of control. I wanted to convey the feeling of control loss for someone that control means everything. My method was to use multiple senses; sight, touch, and smell, to express the growing panic of the character. I also used metaphors. In one scene I described the feeling of sensing some vast predatory shark swimming beneath the surface to express fear and loss of power over the situation.
Basically, I wanted to say that descriptive writing is not only about spending extra time and words to convey an image to the reader, but about conveying anything you want to them. Whether you want to set a visual scene or emotional feeling, you need to be descriptive. However, there will always be a balancing act between description and pace. Please let me know on both accounts when you read my stories.