Description and Details... I often need to tell my students before, during, and after a writing assignment to include details... supporting details, sensory details, vivid, colorful, meaningful DETAILS! Of course, you need to understand that writing is like a tooth extraction for my wonderful kids. They want to know exactly how many words they need...right down to the last letter. No more, no less. Yet, for those of us who enjoy the written word, we create our beautiful masterpieces with those many, many words and phrases...maybe too many. I was reading in Stephen King's On Writing -- one of my favorite references on the subject -- where he states, "good description usually consists of a few well-chosen details that will stand for everything else" and "that it's as easy to overdescribe as to underdescribe. Probably easier." He continues to explain that what comes into your mind first, what you see first... those details are the most genuine and best to use. He's not big on physical description of characters, but rather description of time and place, i.e. the setting. I agree for the most part. Who cares what kind of handbag and shoes someone is wearing? Unless the shoes are going to be an important clue to a murder, for instance, it's unnecessary. I'd much rather hear about the character's character than the color of his or her hair. And as King puts it, "get on with your main job, which is telling the story" and don't bog down your writing with weighty details that bore your readers.
So, what do you think? Do you agree? What "details" do you tend to include in your writing?