Is that a needed Technical description or a just a “data dump”

Writers often pride themselves on researching locations, weather, equipment and geographical descriptions. With Google earth we can drive down roads and explore the exterior storefronts, peer up cliffs and find a gap in the guard rail along that solitary road. We use the internet to read about island currents and the feeding habit of toads.
But how much of this detail is needed for the reader? The writer needs as much information a possible, but the reader?
Do we need to describe the four gnarled trees before the curve by the bridge that crosses a fifty foot dry arroyo as our hero careens down the narrow two lane road with pothole in causing a gap in the double yellow line he is following?
I think the answer is obvious. However, keeping those notes handy, small bits can be added to the story to make it come alive. However, our main purpose as writers is to convey emotions not a historical guide of military maneuvers. Yes, we have to describe the environment and yes we want to bring our readers to new places and distant lands. But even the description of a landscape is to evoke a feeling, an experience not a geography lesson.
Those magnificent Tetons should have a reason for being included in the story, not just a picture on our literary the wall.

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About 3by3 writing method

The author of 12 books, half of them textbooks, two novels and three self help. has struggled with his challenges of completion, distractions, plotting and writers block. Finally after getting stopped I stopped and analyzed what was going on and spent a lot of introspection, research and reading trying to locate the source of these issues. The result of was the 3by3 writing method - a three step program to start and then continue the process of completing a story all the way to publication.
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4 Responses to Is that a needed Technical description or a just a “data dump”

  1. Excellent. Love that phrase “not just a phrase on our literary wall”

  2. Esther says:

    Did you write this for me, Steve? Oh yes, it’s the emotions, not the historical details–so important when creating action/plot/adventure. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Of course I have super esp and all my blogs are only for you
      by the way I was just reminded that a location can be a character in itself. But this is not a data dump but a location that takes on a special part in the story

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