When it comes to writing, how much detail is too much? As writers, we struggle with this question every time we put pen to paper or fingers to keys.
We had a lively discussion on Facebook the other day, some authors like to write to rich details, others like me, prefer to give the basics and move along with character driven stories. Not that the others aren't character driven as well, but when it comes to description, do we really need to know what the room looks like unless it is essential to the story? If a character has a messy room or a very tidy abode, that would of course give you some insight into who they are and what makes them tick. But unfortunately for us, as writers, the readers out there will have their own opinion of what that little fact might suggest. To some people a tidy room might suggest someone is uptight or compulsive, I, on the other hand, would believe that they were well adjusted and have their ducks all in a row. So how much is too much? When does it become more than you need?
Perhaps that is just one of the differences in readers preferences. As an avid reader, I don't enjoy every writer. It wouldn't make sense too but even the ones that I really enjoy, Stephen King, Anne Rice, Dean Koontz and Terry Pratchett, when they get a little long in the verse, I tend to fast read through it. Not that it isn't beautifully written, Anne Rice's descriptive passages regarding New Orleans can put you right there with the vampires and witches in the Big Easy. You can feel the oppressive heat and humidity of the city and smell the scent of the bougainvillea and suffocating wisteria as it grows untamed around the old southern plantation homes. And yes, I do love knowing that, once. And then my mind can take it from there. After that, I skim over it when the passages fall into the same descriptive mode. (Plus, having lived in the Deep South I am very aware of the heat and humidity of the area and don't particularly enjoy being reminded of it.)
We all have our different ways of getting our point across and our stories told. Whether a reader or a writer, you simply have to find the place that you fit in the best.