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Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Spotlight: Rachel Rossano


Essential for every book, description sets the stage. Using the senses, the author builds characters and a world within our heads. Surely everyone knows the importance of those bits of information.

Apparently not all, I ran into a few writers (unpublished) who believed that dialogue was whatwriting is all about. They wanted to skip past all of the description and get straight to the talking. Their logic being that was how they read books and so that is how they wished to write their books.

Don’t misunderstand me. I love dialogue. A well written dialogue between characters brings a special life to any book. The witty beats between speakers as they feed off of each other’s energy, provoking and exhilarating, thrills me every time. However, description is essential too.

To be honest, the suggestion ofskipping the description to read only the dialogue horrified me. By doing so, one would miss so much.

How do you envision the hero without at least one or two references to his appearance? The heroine could be self-conscious about her teeth and a reader would never know the source of her discomfort without some description. Think of all the shades of meaning and emotion communicated by touch or movement lost if the reader skipped the descriptions.

Words spoken in a vacuum are hard to interpret.So much meaning would be lost because we cannot see what is in the author’s mind, but not on the page.

I personally refuse to skip description while reading and when writing. The author wrote it for a purpose and since she /he is telling the story, I shall trust it was put there for a purpose.

How do you feel about descriptions in novels?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Rossano, authoress of The Mercenary’s Marriage, buries herself in books between diapers, bottles, and preschool transportation for her three little ones. Her books are available on Amazon and Smashwords.

She blogs ( and keeps her fans up to date on her current activities on her Facebook page ( You can also visit her website (


DanielleThorne said...

I love description in a book; I agree a lot of that has been lost in our fast-paced world. When done with finesse, like Patrick O'Brian in "Master and Commander," (He can go on for paragraphs and it's beautiful and moves the story forward), it gives the story a concrete dimension. It makes it more real, more believable. Of course, when it' done wrong, it can make for dull reading.
Description is an important skill to master!

Diane Craver said...

Great post, Rachel! The funny thing is I always think I'm lousy at writing description but readers tell me that my descriptions make the story believable. Go figure. I love writing dialogue but agree that description is important to the story.

Anne Patrick said...

It's not that I dislike description in my books, I'm just not very good at it. I give just enough to set the scene, to allow the reader a sense of what's going on and the rest is dialogue. I do hope to get better at it though. What can I say, I'm a work in progress :).

Rachel Rossano said...

Danielle, I completely agree that we have lost something in our fast-paced attack at life. Something of value that I believe we are going to regret later as a society.

Diane, I also wonder if I am doing an adequate job with my description in my writing. I have noticed that it depends on the reader and whether or not my word choices connect with them. I have such a hard time choosing the words that will reach the most readers yet still be unique to me. A delicate and not always successful balance.

Anne, I used to be a minimalist with description. Then I attempted a book and style heavy in description and found I enjoyed it. Now, I am strive for a mix, a few potent images and keep the rest straightforward, yet clear. We shall see how successful my new approach is. :)

Thank you all for visiting. I really appreciate it.

Gail Pallotta said...

I like description. I want to read the details that set the stage for the book. I also love it when the writer paints scenes for me.

wanda f said...

I think that descriptions are essential in storytelling I want to be able to see the places and people in my minds eye

Rachel Rossano said...

Gail and Wanda, thank you. It is nice to know I am not alone. :)