So I accept that my UF heroine cannot spend the whole book running around killing zombies and slaying vampires - apart from anything else that would be boring! Sometimes she has to do other things - research, investigation, snog the handsome werewolf. But authors also include other things to flesh out the world in which the heroine/hero lives. I'm going to discuss two of them today - one of which bores me to tears, and the other which I love. Quite what this says about me I'm not sure.
I am bored to death by pages and pages of description about CLOTHES!
I've just read a book where the heroine spends four pages trying on various outfits and shoes, along with loving descriptions of the line, cut and colour. Arrrgghhhhhh go and slay some creature from hell already!
If it's necessary to the plot, tell me it's a purple dress, if you must, tell me it's a purple Vera Wang - like I know what that means, I'm more of a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal. But I don't care that it's a purple 'whoever' from this season, cut down to here, slashed up to there, in soft velvet with a cotton and lace trim, a scalloped hemline and gold thread detailing. If I want that much information I'll read about it in Vogue or Glamour (not). Can we get back to killing zombies now?
I also hate when authors put their heroines in impractical clothes. She's running after a vampire over uneven ground in four inch heels.
She's GOING TO BREAK HER NECK!
These loving outfit descriptions often seem to go hand in hand with a plethora of designer name dropping. Which usually leaves me wondering if the author is getting some kind of commission.
Descriptions of food on the other hand....drifts off a little. If an author can write a brilliant description of an apple pie, warm from the oven, buttery pastry crumbling underneath a knife to reveal a juicy filling and just the hint of cinnamon in the steam. I am sold.
I love authors who can write wonderful descriptions of food. Maybe this is because I'm usually reading in between meals and if I read for a long time I start to get hungry. Maybe I'm more forgiving of food descriptions (because unlike clothes, which often feel quite two-dimensional to me) because they involve so many senses - taste, touch, sight, smell - they make the world of the characters feel more solid, more real.
Maybe it's because food is easier to weave into the plot - discussions over meal times help reveal things about characters, as can what the characters eat and how they eat it. Whereas changing clothes or trying different outfits on, stops the action. I'm more willing to linger over scenes set around meals, trying to take everything in; outfit changes? I just want to get onto the next bit of plot.
Thoughts? Comments? Do you prefer food or clothes? Or are there other extraneous descriptions that get on your nerves.
I have a copy of Lord of the Dark Sun by Stobie Piel to give away to one poster to this thread. Name to be chosen by random number at random.org on Friday/Saturday.