When writing, is it more description (adjective, adverbs, imagery, etc.) the better? I have been told that there is a point where descriptions just clutters a story. How do I know when to stop? In the story, I'm told that imagery is welcome and it helps to paint a picture. However, the positive view towards my writing seemed to decrease as more imagery was added. So, am I supposed to describe to the fullest that I can or stop once a vivid image is painted.

  • When you read books by other authors, how do their descirptions feel for you? Do think they describe too much? Or too little? Or is it just right? Your reading experience will give you the answer you want.
    – user37583
    Apr 4, 2019 at 20:12

1 Answer 1


Writing is about balancing all the elements that make up a scene.

Too much description and the reader will yearn for some action. Too much action and it becomes expected, no longer surprising. Too much dialogue and it will seem like the characters are speaking in a vacuum.

A good test is to go over a chapter with different coloured highlighters, each colour representing dialogue, description, action, etc. Then spread the pages out on the floor and look at them from a distance. It will show you if your writing is balanced and make you aware of what you do too much of.

Steer clear of too many adjectives and adverbs, they do add clutter. Much better to go with stronger nouns and verbs.

But remember, these are just tips. A scene needs what a scene needs. So try not to be too prescriptive with your writing. Look at Fences - it's a movie, yes, but - it's almost all dialogue.

Good luck!

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