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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