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Description.  It's necessary to make a story work.  Too much leaves the story on hold while you marvel at the sunset or the hero's strong chin.  Too little leaves you with a "whiteboard" problem--a story that moves from scene to scene like a diagram on a white board.  You end up without knowing the characters or where they are.  No matter how clever or logical the plot, the reader finds it difficult to get involved in the story.  Well we're the writing wombats.  How do we write so as put in just the right amount of description?

There are several related issues here.  First, how do you create the details of a character or place in your own mind so that you have a mental picture of what you want to convey to your readers?  How do you make the setting solid in your mind so you can describe it to your readers?  Do you use places where you've actually been in your settings?  Do you use people you know or see in real life as the basis of your character descriptions?  If you saw the person or place you were describing would you recognize it or them?  What techniques do you use to make your mental pictures as solid as possible?

Once you've create the character and setting in your own mind, how do you convey that information to your readers?  What do you leave in?  What do you leave out?  How do you work description in without slowing down the story too much?

Have you ever read a book where the descriptions were so vivid that you could recognize people or places if you ever saw them?  Among published authors, who does description particularly well?  Do particular genres usually do an above average or below average job of description?

If you write science fiction, fantasy, or the kinds of romance that deal with imaginary places, how do create settings that seem real?  How do you create characters that feel at home in those settings?

Finally, do you think you get the balance right?  Do you think you know your characters and settings?  Do you think you succeed in getting those mental pictures across to your readers?