book_wench (book_wench) wrote,

On Description

I'm reading an epic military fantasy at the moment. It's a very popular one, and deservedly so, but this one aspect has really been bothering me. We've been having pages and pages of descriptions of the aftermath of the slaughter in a city. It's very graphic, gory stuff, describing streets and buildings choked with bodies and parts of bodies. Honestly, it's a bit overkill for my tastes, but my tastes are not everyone's and there's no doubt the prose is very evocative.

Except for the fact that there's no smell. In all this detailed description of rivers of blood and bodies oozing various things, of bodies packed so tightly into a house that they're holding it up and as they bloat and exude liquids, the said liquids begin to seep through the masonry--no smell. I mean, can you imagine how foul-smelling that would be? Even taking the bodies out of the equation, the smell of that much blood alone is nausea-inducing. 

Anyway, it's begun to really get to me for some reason. Every time I get to another gory description, all I'm doing is waiting for the smell to surface.

Tags: description, prose, writing

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