Recently I was attempting to explain to an author that not all editors actually want authors to remove every bit of descriptive narrative. Nope, some of us actually want authors to find that happy medium between bare bones and fluffy fluff. So color me ecstatic when I stumbled upon this wonderful article, “Creating Lean But Descriptive Prose,” by Connie J. Jasperson at Life in the Realm of Fantasy.
This article is great because it addresses the complaints I’ve been hearing lately from authors—editors say remove all adjectives and adverbs and the results are dry and boring. As a side note, I don’t know many editors who say remove all of anything. Well, except maybe shouty caps. Okay, maybe one or two can stay… but I digress.
Connie says, “Good prose requires choosing words that convey your ideas in the least amount of space. Modifiers and descriptors do that for us, but need to be chosen carefully, and used only when nothing else will do.”
Yes. That, exactly. Choose all your words carefully for the best possible effect.