On detailing surroundings

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deviltales
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On detailing surroundings

#1 Post by deviltales » Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:18 pm

As visuals are the main point of a VN, detailing the surroundings[BG] is not that important via writing, since we already catch a glimpse of the visuals, right? Even if it's not for a VN or KN, i never though detailing objects or places is that important. Of course they should be at least mentioned, but they're not vital. For me, characters are more important and I flesh them out with focusing more on them than on the surroundings. I write mainly First Person PoV, and the focus always falls on my MC, the rest of the cast and how the MC interacts with them.
Now, my question is: Should time and space receive more love? Is accuracy that important to make one's story more believable and realistic?
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Re: On detailing surroundings

#2 Post by Greeny » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:22 pm

Personally, I don't think so. How often to you walk into a room and mentally start describing the environment?
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Re: On detailing surroundings

#3 Post by piano » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:11 pm

I think for environments, the image (background) should speak for itself. I don't think describing it enhances the story in any way and may be redundant.. Unless you are particularly pointing out something important in the environment that needs to be highlighted such as a device, puzzle or plot reason, I don't think describing the background is necessary. Maybe in a book (when you don't have pictures), but with a visual novel, I think the visual element should be emphasized. Sort of like "show, don't tell."

However, I think the important thing to note is how the character feels in the environment. Not just "I feel cold" if a character is standing in the snow. How does the environment affect how the character acts? What role does the environment play in bending the character's emotions? For example, the character may visit a friend's house and suddenly be reminded of a relative's house from childhood where they used to play hide and seek. He may then feel nostalgic with a touch of sadness of long-gone youth.

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Re: On detailing surroundings

#4 Post by Maelstrom-Fenrir » Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:21 am

First of all; it greatly depends on the genre, the mood of the scene, and what is going on.

Mystery, horror, and suspense stories benefit from understanding the location and mood. Which can be channeled into the description and can increase the power of the writing.

Next if the setting is important it should get at least a little description. You have an image of the area fine, but that doesn't mean it is perfect or can give you everything. Think about ways you can utilize the image and then enhance the atmosphere with words. By all means weak descriptions should be tossed right out (ex: There is a bridge. There is a blue house, with a blue mailbox... etc..), but strong ones can tell you so much more and add more feeling to the scene. Strong descriptions are those that do double duty, they don't just tell you about something, it tells you more, feeling, tenseness, etc. They give you more atmosphere than just telling us the basics.

Also just because it has a picture doesn't mean it gives you all the details. You can see the image of a bridge, but that might not tell you how, 'it squeaks like a deranged chew-toy.' Images don't tell everything.

And then there are times when description of the the scenery will add more just because of what is going on. Knowing a character is leaning out over the bridge with a far off gaze focused on the water, her hand reaching down as if to desire a world beyond. Gives you a completely different feeling of the scene then; seeing the bridge bg and then seeing a sad character sprite.

Description can make scenes more powerful, don't just discard them. Think about how you can use them to enhance the images, not fight with them. That's my advice.

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Re: On detailing surroundings

#5 Post by Duskylli » Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:43 pm

I think its a nice touch in creating atmosphere when needed. Especially if your story is set in an unfamiliar world a few details will bring it to life. The trick is no to go overboard with descriptions and have a block of writing just describing the scene. You can try and weave descriptions into dialogue and through character actions.

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Re: On detailing surroundings

#6 Post by AznGreen » Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:56 pm

The more you describe something, anything, in your writing, the easier it is for your readers to sink into that world. For example, if you simply say "The cloud is grey. I walk towards the store.", the time lapse in the reader's head is merely seconds. If you however describes something in details, time slows down for the reader, hence, they fall into the world that you're describing them. You can let the reader sink into the environment or let them sink into a character in front of them. The more you emphasize something, the more valuable that thing is to you and the readers. I hope this helped.

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Re: On detailing surroundings

#7 Post by ZeroExistence009 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:52 am

Well, if your story greatly rely on the atmosphere and mood of a scene, I think backgrounds are important.

It's hard to feel something that the MC feels if there are something wrong with the mood.

Mood setting is important in some genres so it depends.

I can't be scared in a horror story that has a bright background and I can't feel the love if the background is scary as hell :lol:
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Re: On detailing surroundings

#8 Post by Semienigma » Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:26 pm

I suck at describing the surroundings but in visual novels I feel that instead of the MC just describing stuff, Its better to have him/her describe how they feel when they see the surroundings. That's how I've found I've been doing it.
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Re: On detailing surroundings

#9 Post by Verstehen » Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:22 pm

Time is tricky, because you need to know when to stop and when to keep going and that's a lot more difficult than it sounds.
Sometimes you'll get into it and realize you've just spent an entire chapter's worth of words describing onions or some nonsense. Nobody wants to read an entire chapter about onions out of nowhere. That's horrible.

On the other side of the coin if you have it too short then the player could feel unsatisfied or a lack of immersion and become bored. You never want a player to feel bored. There is no justification for boring your players and both of these are sure to do so, the former example possibly causing great confusion for them.

How long is enough is entirely dependent on the style and rhythm. Rhythm is the most important part of writing and one of the most difficult things to get down amongst newer writers. Some don't even realize that there can be a rhythm.

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Re: On detailing surroundings

#10 Post by KaenSe4 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:54 pm

I personally pay more attention to the surroundings when writing. However, for a script that's going to be part of a VN or KN, the background picture speaks for itself. There's no real need to emphasize on background in the plot unless the plot relies on the background, for example a murder scene. But when you're writing in general, surrounding are more important because readers do not have a visual aid to help with picturing the scene.

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Re: On detailing surroundings

#11 Post by Ophelia » Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:26 pm

Well, it's a Visual Novel. Visual Novels work with pictures. There isn't really much need to describe how every character and every scene looks like, except if it triggers some kind of reaction/emotion in the protagonist, I think.
I'd say that nobody wants to know that the curtains in the protagonist's room are green if they don't have any significance in the story - but if those curtains got made by the protagonist's mother herself who died and it always reminds him of her, then that could be used as an element to the story.

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