Today I read a book that focuses on concrete, heavy adjectives. There are a lot of action scenes in the book, but somehow you get the feeling that the outward action is a blur, and the only thing in sharp focus is the thought-life of the characters, ...and their thoughts are full of adjectives.
In a way, it was a engaging book, pulling you in to the character's mind and emotions. But in another way, it left me feeling like saying "enough with the introspect - let's turn your eyes outward and see what's happening in the world!"
Don't get me wrong - it was well done. The authors (the book was co-written) worked all those descriptions in there pretty smoothly. They don't use many italicized thoughts, so rarely are you quite sure whether the descriptions you are reading are the narrator's voice, or the voice of the character's thoughts. This keeps the characters from sounding "like a book." And, if you read it slowly, (like I rarely do), the similes are great word pictures. Definitely a good source for adjective, metaphor, and simile ideas.
One thing that did get confusing, though, was the fact that the book had two main characters, and the viewpoint was constantly changing mid-scene, or even mid-paragraph. I've come to the conclusion that I don't want to use this writing style, although I have tried it in the past. Even if you are very clear - and these authors were fairly good at that - it's too much work for the reader's brain. (Ahem.) Switching viewpoint between scenes is often enough for me.
I realize this is a rather rambling collection of thoughts, but I just finished a hour-or-so spurt of writing, and my brain is tumbling all over the place without an outline to follow. I just thought I'd put out these pros and cons, and ask what your thoughts on the matter are. How much "introspect" is enough? How do you know when you need to focus more on the action of the plot, rather than the emotions? And how do you know when you need to back off the action and throw a meditating character in there?
What about viewpoint switching? How often do you think it should be done? What's your rule of thumb?
What habits of authors do you find tiring as a reader? Do you see any of them showing up in your own work? What can you do to discourage yourself from forming habits and styles that are fun for the writer but extra work for the reader?
Waiting to hear from you!