Saturday, January 28, 2012

Confabulation or, "Describing things in excruitiating detail"

I was cruising Twitter two days ago and came across a tweet with this link: Our friend, confabulation

Confabulation is defined as: the replacement of a gap of a person's memory by a falsification that he or she believes may be true.

It's conjecture, basically. As explained in the link, confabulation is what gives writers the chance to only minimally describe characters and settings--and the reader will fill in the rest. You know how you and your friend can both read the same book at the same time, yet have two completely different images of the lead characters?

I'm not great at description. I think I'm sort of finding the happy middle ground between describing every last little thing and very spare description just now and that's only because I have figured out how to move a plot along.

But I want to describe all my characters--how their mouths move when they talk and what their cheekbones look like and how they walk. I've found myself sitting at my laptop, going "How would you describe a nose?"

That level of description is for me.

What kinds of simple sentences have you read that you filled in for yourself? Was it a palace or a trench or a village? Who was it? What were the words that set your mind off into seeing things the way your mind pictured it?

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