So I'm still working on reading Stephen King's ON WRITING in between other projects (We finally have a working toilet in our basement. Yay!) I've found some good advice about description. Here are some of my favorites.
*I don't need to give you a pimple-by-pimple, skirt-by-skirt rundown. We all remember one or more high school losers, after all; if I describe mine, it freezes out yours, and I lose a little bit of the bond of understanding I want to forge between us. Description begins in the writer's imagination, but should finish in the reader's.
*I think Locale and texture are much more important to the reader's sense of actually being in the story than any physical description of the players.
*It's as easy to overdescribe as to underdescribe.
*What I actually want to do is open all my senses. (not just sight)
*It's also important to remember it's not about the setting, anyway--it's about the story, and it's always about the story. It will not behoove me or you to wander off into thickets of description just because it would be easy to do.
This last one is good. I've seen that a lot in beginning writers, where they put the story on hold to describe each and every detail of the girls outfit. Sometimes clothing details are important, I'm not arguing that. But they shouldn't just be listed while the reader wonders when the story will start again. They need to be woven into the action and dialogue so that it's organic.
Personally I tend to under-describe. That's why, well, one reason why, my drafts generally get longer as I go. Early readers say they don't get an idea of place or time and I have to add in more details. What about you? How do you work description? Do you tend to over or under-describe?