Do you bog down the reader with too many details?

How much is enough?

Is the Devil really in the details?

Many of y’all are too young to remember Dragnet, a 1950’s TV series. A movie remake in 1987 starring Dan Aykroyd, and Tom Hanks didn’t do justice to the old B&W series.

But so many times I want to make sure my reader “gets” the point. As a result, too often I bog the reader down in details that just muddy the water.

As Joe Friday used to say, “Just the facts, Ma’am.”

Like many of you readers out there, I sometimes skip through a story like Dorothy on the yellow brick road rushing toward Oz.

No one, myself included wants to read the boring stuff. So how do we strike a balance?

Jerry Jenkins wrote, How to Evoke Powerful Images in Your Reader’s Mind

In his post, he suggests that too often as writers, we crush the reader’s imagination instead of igniting the images.

Don’t force the details. Every reader wants an “ah-ha” moment.

Don’t strive for the reader to see what you see.

Resist the urge to explain and trust the reader to follow their own path of discovery.

So what do you think? Is your writing lighting fires or crushing the reader under the boulders of information?

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Thank you!
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9 thoughts on “Do you bog down the reader with too many details?

  1. Great advice! As writers it’s embedded in our brains to show and not tell. I like description, I like picturing the scene in my head, the room, the dress, the garden whatever it may be. But there are times when the showing just becomes too descriptive and it does bog the reader down to the point of boredom. I’ve put many books down because of this. As a writer my self, I always try to remember that…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent advice. I know when I read my own writing, and my eyes start to glaze over, the words become a mish-mash of black and white, that I have put way too much detail into my writing. Sometimes simple is better.

    Liked by 1 person

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