What do you think about minimalistic style of writing?

BlackKnightX

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I don’t like long-winded descriptions, especially with the setting. Why? Because it’s unnecessary and distracting.

When I read the first sentence of the descriptions, image of the scene starts to form in my head. So when the second sentence comes to provide more details, I just feel that it’s unnecessary and just slowing me down.

Like, if the author tries to describe a prison cell. I don’t need to know how the lighting in the scene works, how the water dripped down to the floor, what material the floor is made off, or what sound the water-drops make. Just tell me the prison cell is dark and wet in just one or two sentences, and I’ll get the picture right away.

Now, I do understand that detailed descriptions and beautiful prose are great to set up a mood and create an atmosphere. But I just don’t feel it as much, rather, it’s just distracting.

Well, maybe, this is just me. But I just love this kind of writing. The writing that just gets to the point and move the story along quickly.

What about you guys? What do you think about minimalistic style of writing?
 

Anon_Y_Mousse

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Tbh, I feel the exact opposite. Whenever there's a lack of prose, I feel like the story is lifeless. If you don't describe at least the material of the walls, or how the river flows through the city, then the entire place just feels empty to me. It is especially annoying when there's an in-depth conversation between two characters and fight scenes. I want to see the expressions the characters make, I want to see their face twist in pain whenever something bad happens, and I want to see their body language show when they are in joy. Unlike anime and manga, words don't have images, so the only way to convey what you want the readers to see is through vivid descriptions. Especially in battles. I don't wanna read x simply hitting y with a hard blow. I wanna read how that blow tears apart the air around it, and how the force behind it cracks the ground beneath the two combatants.
Not to mention sex scenes... You NEED to be descriptive with those imo.
Eh, but don't get me wrong, light novels are popular because they're light. I just feel that you shouldn't forego descriptions altogether.
 

killwrites

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I'm a fan of minimalistic writing simply because I take less time to write each chapter that way. And also, I don't like telling readers exactly how the scene goes; as a reader myself, I prefer just having the general details and leaving imagination to do the rest (unless it's very important to know the setting) because I care more about the characters

I mean, I already reached the climax of my first arc and it took less than 10k words. Even I'm surprised at how little words I can come up with...
 

BlackKnightX

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Tbh, I feel the exact opposite. Whenever there's a lack of prose, I feel like the story is lifeless. If you don't describe at least the material of the walls, or how the river flows through the city, then the entire place just feels empty to me. It is especially annoying when there's an in-depth conversation between two characters and fight scenes. I want to see the expressions the characters make, I want to see their face twist in pain whenever something bad happens, and I want to see their body language show when they are in joy. Unlike anime and manga, words don't have images, so the only way to convey what you want the readers to see is through vivid descriptions. Especially in battles. I don't wanna read x simply hitting y with a hard blow. I wanna read how that blow tears apart the air around it, and how the force behind it cracks the ground beneath the two combatants.
Not to mention sex scenes... You NEED to be descriptive with those imo.
Eh, but don't get me wrong, light novels are popular because they're light. I just feel that you shouldn't forego descriptions altogether.
I understand what you mean. I’m not saying that you need to neglect all those details. What I’m saying is, you only need to get the right things across and my imagination will work out the rest.

Long description is fine, as long as each sentences convey different points. What I don’t like is when two or three sentences only convey the same point but in a slightly different way. It’s like the author is afraid the readers won’t get the exact image.
 

Anon_Y_Mousse

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I'm a fan of minimalistic writing simply because I take less time to write each chapter that way. And also, I don't like telling readers exactly how the scene goes; as a reader myself, I prefer just having the general details and leaving imagination to do the rest (unless it's very important to know the setting) because I care more about the characters

I mean, I already reached the climax of my first arc and it took less than 10k words. Even I'm surprised at how little words I can come up with...
Tfw when I'm almost at 90k and I'm still at the climax of my first arc. Pain.
I understand what you mean. I’m not saying that you need to neglect all those details. What I’m saying is, you only need to get the right things across and my imagination will work out the rest.

Long description is fine, as long as each sentences convey different points. What I don’t like is when two or three sentences only convey the same point but in a slightly different way. It’s like the author is afraid the readers won’t get the exact image.
Ah, now that's problematic, yes, once you've described something one way, there's no need to describe it in another. Once you've established that a beauty has jade-like skin... You don't have to compare it with a milky pearl as well. Yes, I'm looking at Xianxia authors here.
 

BlackKnightX

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I'm a fan of minimalistic writing simply because I take less time to write each chapter that way. And also, I don't like telling readers exactly how the scene goes; as a reader myself, I prefer just having the general details and leaving imagination to do the rest (unless it's very important to know the setting) because I care more about the characters

I mean, I already reached the climax of my first arc and it took less than 10k words. Even I'm surprised at how little words I can come up with...
Completely agree with you!

I don’t think it’s a vague description by any mean if it just describes the right details. My imagination will fill in the gaps by itself.
 

killwrites

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Once you've established that a beauty has jade-like skin... You don't have to compare it with a milky pearl as well.
My personal favourite of describing a beautiful person (although I don't dare to do it in my own story) :

Words can't describe how beautiful she is. Period.
 

BlackKnightX

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Once you've established that a beauty has jade-like skin... You don't have to compare it with a milky pearl as well. Yes, I'm looking at Xianxia authors here.
Understandable, though. Xianxia authors need to pad up the word counts. The more they write, the more they earn. That’s how they make money after all. 😂
 

Anon_Y_Mousse

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My personal favourite of describing a beautiful person (although I don't dare to do it in my own story) :

Words can't describe how beautiful she is. Period.
Meanwhile Xianxia authors: Words cannot describe how beautiful she is.
*Proceeds to write a chapter on how beautiful she is* (this actually happens).
Understandable, though. Xianxia authors need to pad up the word counts. The more they write, the more they earn. That’s how they make money after all. 😂
Yeah I know, it just feels weird when authors like mars gravity describe every somewhat significant female character like the MC is about to fuck them.
 

BlackKnightX

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Yeah I know, it just feels weird when authors like mars gravity describe every somewhat significant female character like the MC is about to fuck them.
Lol. I heard that they do that to increase the wish-fulfillment element in the story. Put it simply, author just makes the characters more appealing and more fuckable, so adding them to the mc’s harem will be more worth it~ 😂
 

yansusustories

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As an author, I actually like to do it, especially in modern stories. Like, I'll expect the readers to know what the fuck the apartment of a 20-something guy looks like. They've all seen one, probably.
The further a story strays from the reality of our world though, the more I'd step away from minimalism and go for more details. That's on one caveat though: I don't think descriptions should be done in a chunk of text. Like, when I introduce a setting, I'd usually only go with one or two sentences (unless the specific situation calls for it) but then additional details can be thrown in further into the scene.
Like, in the example you gave, I'd probably start with a dark prison, then when the characters go further in, there's a chance to have water drip down or if they interact with something in said prison, I would also add more detail. I think that in this way, it feels less like it's slowing things down since it's not as much at once but instead woven in as things are already progressing.
The exceptions to that rule would be if a character has reason to survey a place closely (looking for something, trying not to get caught) or if I'm doing it for atmosphere's sake. E.g. I once did the latter when the main characters met because it set the tone for the whole novel and also conveyed information about them at the same time.
 

Southdog

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A lack of detail is less damning than too much detail: walls of text can be skipped, austere descriptions are easier to digest. It's still damning, in that you can't drop an audience into a foreign world and expect them to understand things, but it is less damning.

It's less necessary to describe things with which an audience is familiar with (breathing air, loneliness) than it is things an audience is unfamiliar with (fornicating, social interaction)[1]. It's still necessary, because you need to set a scene, but you don't need to describe every breath taken more than you need to describe what's actually happening in a story. The human brain can only focus on so much at a time.

Minimalism is a scalpel. A precise application can dramatically enhance your writing. Sloppy cuts just leave you bleeding all over the place.

[1] This is a joke.
 

AriaKang

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I feel the same, in my head I'm like, "Can the author just get to the point and stop wasting my time?" I just can't stand when a book just keeps dragging, I'll admit that my writing style is what one would call minimalist because I feel that readers should use their imagination and not get limited by whatever info the author provides in the story.
 

Renaxan

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Always prefer minimalistic over long haul paragraph.

Reason? I would sleep reading over long ass paragraph try to describe about something. I don't need to go all detail about something because I have something called imagination.

We human, have imagination. Though different person has different capability about how far they could imagining thing ... so I think its also very subjective question.


Bit OOT, In case of myself, sometimes I would go venture to find MTL'ed stuff for something that haven't translated yet by current translator but I'm deadly curious on what happened next.. on that stuff.

(Usually translated novel, yes also fellow nuffian here)

That MTL'ed stuff even need much more effort to figure out than minimalistic writing style... but because power of Imagination, somehow I would still understand what is going on at the end of every chapter.

...

Though I would never ever recommend to do it if you want to train your imagination on reading. Loss of braincell, English grammar destroyed, yadayadayada.
 

Echimera

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I've found I like both, and both very much depend on genre, context and proper execution.

For example, in mystery stories, I like to ty and solve the mystery in question. Detailed descriptions, especially those that include clues (and red herrings) the characters themselves didn't pick up on, can make that really fun. If that's part of what the author is going for, detailed descriptions are sort of necessary to hide these clues among other details not relevant to the mystery.

Action scenes can work both ways for me.
Minimalistic descriptions can make it feel really hectic and disorienting, which can be a good thing when describing a fight, though there is a point at which it crosses from the narration not keeping up because the fight is so fast paced to the narration just not caring and basically flash-cutting like the fights in Iron Fist.
On the other hand, detailed descriptions can a couple different things like showing how much better a POV-character is (when they have time to take in details not relevant to the fight itself), drive home just how bad injuries are or just show off the mastery of two equally matched opponents.
 

owotrucked

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Same, I like minimalist wwriting!

That's why I draw stuff like that to save words.


But some readers do say it lacks some description and immersion. So I dunno
 

Jemini

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As has been said. They both have their time and place, and both have their good and bad executions.

My opinion is that it's really all a matter of skill. Either can be very good or very bad depending on the skill of the writer. Poorly done minimalist writing might just be that the writer is just rushing things and is skimping too much on the details. It takes some serious skill to do minimalism right. You need to be a master at implying the details that you leave out of the writing. All the details need to still be there. If you are doing minimalism right, then you will find a way to make the reader fill in the blanks on their own.

Failure to trigger this response in the reader's brain is just bad.

On the flip-side, being overly wordy could just as easily be an attempt at covering up for the fact that you're bad at describing things, so you just get extra wordy to make up for it. This can become meandering and awkward, and just throw off the story if you do not do it well.

I personally admire properly done minimalist writing by an appropriately skilled author. However, I am very much of the opinion that you need to be pretty high skilled in order to do it right. It is really not a road for beginner writers.
 
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With an unskilled author they might just glaze over something like someone taking a shit will be flamed for adding something irrelevant. Whereas with some skilled authors, they can talk about something unimportant like someone taking a shit for a whole chapter and it would be good.
It really just depends on how skilled the author is and whether they know the demographic well enough to hit the right balance.

Edit:
I really do not recommend going into so much detail about someone taking a shit. I don't think anyone would actually want to read about someone taking a shit, unless they are into that sort of thing. At that point I think you might as well just add it in.
 
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