Guest blog by Dee Kincade

Today’s guest blogger is my writer friend, Dee Kincade.  She writes science fiction and fantasy for the middle-grade and young adult markets.

Show your setting! Guest Blog by Dee Kincade

One of my favorite authors is J.R.R. Tolkien. I love his imagination and his pursuit to create new worlds, including languages, songs, dress, history, and culture for each being. It’s obvious that he spent years and thousands of index cards writing the Lord of the Rings, and the Hobbit.

While I thoroughly enjoyed his books, I have to admit and I may be the only person who felt this way, and if so—oh, well. I’m talking about pages and pages of descriptions describing the Shire. Tolkien also wrote many pages explaining the Hobbits’ simple lifestyle.

Today, most readers want some description, just enough to be able to picture the scene. However, at times, even a short over-view takes several paragraphs or even more in speculative fiction. How do we write what the readers want and keep it short.

I’ve been reading Elements of Fiction Writing – Description by Monica Wood. She advises writers to describe the setting through our characters’ action. Below is a paragraph from the first book of my Tirwine Series. In this scene, the heroine is following two men.

Sa’dora slipped around the bare trees, her feet silent as she hurried past the scattered patches of snow. Puffs of moisture appeared with each breath as she ran. She dropped behind a sandstone boulder to watch the men, a few paces ahead of her, stumbling over fallen stems in the moonless night. She heard a familiar voice. Mierra! A chill, not caused by the cold, coursed through her. What’s he doing here? A hint of a memory flashed through her mind.

What do you do to keep descriptions short?

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