Some people love long passages talking about landscape and foods and battles. This is the stuff many epic fantasies are made of. Westeros and The Shire are as much characters in their respective books as Jon Snow and Frodo.
On the other hand, thrillers go for the short minimalist approach. If I asked a fan for a description of Jack Reacher, any specifics, other than height, they would give me would come directly from their imaginations. Why? Because the only thing Lee Child says about Jack's physical attributes is that he's unusually tall.
Which is better?
Neither. Both. It totally depends on the purpose of your description. Are you conveying information? Mood? Setting? As a writer, you need to ask yourself, "What is the purpose of this description?"
What brought up this subject?
Alter Ego released her latest book last week. A reader sent her a note the day after the release, saying she loved it. That it made her feel as if she were in the heroine's shoes.
I realized something that had been bugging me for over a year.
The biggest gripe one of Alter Ego's editors had was that there was so little description of the heroine. She thought there should be more details of the heroine's physical appearance. Not just height, hair color and body shape, but those of her snatch and breasts as well. I resisted, though at the time I couldn't say why.
I mean, I had no problem with physical descriptions of secondary characters, and my written picture of the hero could have been used for a police artist's sketch.
But the reader helped me answer the description question. I put so little detail in these types of books because I know, deep down in my heart, that most women reading romance and erotica want to BE the heroine. By only giving a rough idea of the heroine, they could imagine themselves in her shoes, especially since I write these stories either in deep third person or first person POV. And I haven't written one from the hero's POV. (Yet.)
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