Discussion Visual Descriptions vs Exact Descriptions

Discussion in 'Novel General' started by Goblin Sleuth, Mar 31, 2020.

?

Which do you prefer?

  1. Visual Description

  2. Exact Description

Results are only viewable after voting.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Goblin Sleuth

    Goblin Sleuth Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2016
    Messages:
    1,776
    Likes Received:
    2,422
    Reading List:
    Link
    Example #1
    • He was a giant of a man, standing at about 6'11" and easily weighing about 250 lb.
    • He was a giant of a man, as if someone had shaved a bear, and trained it to walk upright.
    Example #2
    • The town was over 25 miles away, the journey was sure to be long and arduous.
    • The town would take several days to reach on foot, the journey was sure to be long and arduous.
    Just curious what type of descriptions do you prefer. While I think it does depend on what exactly is being described I think a visual description works better most of the time. Which version do you prefer?
     
    Martialegg likes this.
  2. SinCity

    SinCity Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2016
    Messages:
    998
    Likes Received:
    794
    Reading List:
    Link
    I think visual description feels a little more personal, because it leaves a lot of things to your imagination
     
    Martialegg likes this.
  3. Martialegg

    Martialegg [World's most powerful Egg] [HazyPrecise's Senpai]

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2017
    Messages:
    721
    Likes Received:
    2,170
    Reading List:
    Link
    In modern society, visual description is not enough for a formal report. We have a higher standard for information than it is in the past.
    When you work in most industry, any kind of visual description is unacceptable. You better off just take a picture of it or draw it yourself.

    That said, Visual description is still widely used even today. But, only in minor, unimportant, or no risk involved.

    Personally, I still preferred Exact description for anything. It doesn't have to be 100% accurate, but at least It could minimized miscommunication.
     
  4. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2017
    Messages:
    3,261
    Likes Received:
    3,050
    Reading List:
    Link
    It depends on what's being described. If it's something that's primarily perceived by vision, then a description of a person's size is better than his actual measurements, but the latter is fine as well; especially if the story takes place in the modern world. For things like distances, rough measurements are more useful than general descriptions. Another way to look at it is to ask whether the actual sizes/distances are important. If they are, then the actual numbers are important as well.
     
    otaku31 likes this.
  5. Frozen ink

    Frozen ink Legally had harem『Cathulu』Power of Love & Evil』

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2016
    Messages:
    4,783
    Likes Received:
    14,469
    Reading List:
    Link
    [​IMG]

    the lack of fur makes em look less threatening ~
     
    Tanyia, Goblin Sleuth and Martialegg like this.
  6. otaku31

    otaku31 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2015
    Messages:
    6,359
    Likes Received:
    24,595
    Reading List:
    Link
    Depends... if you're describing a castle/palace, surely you're not going to give out their actual dimensions, are you? But if you're describing the size of two opposing armies in battle, then numbers would make better sense(?)

    Where exact measures are of not much importance storywise, it might be better to go with visual descriptions, unless you want your story to sound like a report.
     
  7. Goblin Sleuth

    Goblin Sleuth Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2016
    Messages:
    1,776
    Likes Received:
    2,422
    Reading List:
    Link
    Um, I was talking about what you prefer when reading a story. :blobconfused:
     
    Martialegg likes this.
  8. mir

    mir 『Has a Bad Memory』『currently inactive』

    Joined:
    May 17, 2016
    Messages:
    3,671
    Likes Received:
    5,036
    Reading List:
    Link
    I prefer visual descriptions, because I have to translate exact descriptions into visual ones to imagine it properly anyway.
    It might have something to do with me being terrible at eyeball estimating distance and measurements with numbers.
     
    Goblin Sleuth likes this.
  9. Martialegg

    Martialegg [World's most powerful Egg] [HazyPrecise's Senpai]

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2017
    Messages:
    721
    Likes Received:
    2,170
    Reading List:
    Link
    Oh. I didn't realized it was on the Novel general thread :ROFLMAO:

    Then, I'd prefer Visual description. It was more flexible to the reader's imagination.
     
    Goblin Sleuth likes this.
  10. GDLiZy

    GDLiZy Wise Deepsea Mermaid

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2017
    Messages:
    2,915
    Likes Received:
    2,790
    Reading List:
    Link
    Storytelling wise, the more vague it get, the better it become. The readers’ imagination will always be better than the author’s.

    However, everything ultimately fell into the core of the narrative, and the purpose of the information.
     
    AliceShiki likes this.
  11. Shio

    Shio Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2015
    Messages:
    6,041
    Likes Received:
    12,286
    Reading List:
    Link
    It really depends on what the author want to convey. For characteristics, it's better to use visual cue. For military/science purpose, exact description would be better. In writing, everything the author writes tend to have a purpose, so rather than "I want to write like a posh person" it's better to visualize the end goal, then match writing style to that goal.
     
    AliceShiki and GDLiZy like this.
  12. AliceShiki

    AliceShiki 『Ms. Tree』『Magical Girl of Love and Justice』

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2016
    Messages:
    24,130
    Likes Received:
    95,699
    Reading List:
    Link
    Usually speaking I prefer the visual one, but giving exact info is important depending on the scenario~
     
  13. Nimroth

    Nimroth Someone

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2016
    Messages:
    3,971
    Likes Received:
    3,458
    Reading List:
    Link
    Most of the time I would say visual description if possible, the main exception being whenever the exact description adds something to the plot.

    Let's use that second example, even if you give the exact distance alone that doesn't tell you how far the characters travel per day so it might actually tell you less than the description that simply gives a rough estimate on how long it will take.
    But a more exact description might actually matter to the characters themselves, it could help them plan their journey better so depending on how important the journey is to the plot and if the characters need to reach their destination within a specific timeframe then a more exact description would likely be better.
     
  14. Miserys_End

    Miserys_End 「Lv1 Pretend Person」I'm the preson i pretend to be

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2017
    Messages:
    3,975
    Likes Received:
    5,874
    Reading List:
    Link
    Both depending on what the author needs to convey. If they are describing a beautiful vista that a character has come upon, describing it in exact descriptions would destroy the scene. Otoh if you need to describe defensive fortifications, troop numbers, or more detailed information visual descriptions fail to cover the needed information.

    It's more about the right tool for the right job rather then which tool is better in my opinion. Sure hitting a screw with a hammer might drive it into the wood, but using an electric screwdriver makes a world of difference.
     
  15. baka8roukanako

    baka8roukanako Justice for Qi Rong

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2018
    Messages:
    679
    Likes Received:
    627
    Reading List:
    Link
    Doesn't matter, as long as the flow is good. What I hate is metaphors not making a lick of sense, because the translator either MTL-ed the novel or they couldn't be bothered to find an equivalent in English. And 'jade skin' and 'chicken soup' - burn them with fire!!! :blobspearpeek:
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.