The location for my crime novels is very important to me, so too, the description of the crime scene because it is here the truth about the murder is played out. Sydney is also where my fictional characters live. Jill Brennan lives in Bondi and Detective Inspective Nick Rimis in Maroubra. I live in Sydney for only part of the year, so I like to go exploring when I am in town. I am an observant type of person. I am also a notorious eavesdropper. I am one of those women (I don’t believe men have this ability) who can engage in an intelligent conversation while listening to another conversation at the next table. I have been admonished by fellow writers and mentors over my use of too much description. ‘Description should be kept to a minimum, it slows the pace of the story, readers will lose interest,’ they wail. I heed their advice, BUT I LOVE DESCRIPTION!!! A book on my all time favourites list, is Rebecca, written by Daphne Du Maurier. The opening pages, three and a half, in fact, are filled with an evocative description of Manderley.
‘The woods, always a menace even in the past, had trumped in the end. They crowded, dark and uncontrolled to the borders of the drive. The beeches with white, naked limbs leant close to one another, their branches intermingled in a strange embrace, making a vault above my head like the archway of a church. And there were other trees as well, trees that I did not recognise, squat oaks and tortured elms that straggled cheek by jowl with the beeches, and had thrust themselves out of the quiet earth, along with monster shrubs and plants, none of which I remembered.’
So, as a reader or a writer, my question to you is, does description have a place in modern storytelling? What do you think?