And I noticed that I do it in my writing too.
When I write, I try to make sure that the reader "sees" things exactly like I do. I write down every little detail to make sure that they interpret the story the same way that I do.
And this makes for bad writing.
I saw that I used WAY too many adverbs ( I know, and I called myself a writer), and described things so much that it slowed down the pace of things. MY WRITING SUCKED. And when I realized this, I had another (slightly painful) realization too:
IT'S NOT OUR JOB TO MAKE SURE THE READER SEES THE EXACT SAME THING WE DO. We don't need to constantly write down the little details of how this person did this, and the color of that guys shoes. ( Unless, of course, its important). Okay, so maybe I never got that extreme ( shoe color), but I definitely used way too many details ( aka: adverbs). This was largely because I'm a perfectionist ( And no, its not OCD, no matter what my friends tell you) and I like things done MY way. And to realize that I shouldn't even try to have it "my way" with my book felt.... weird.
And why should we not " have it our way"? Because: PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS READ A BOOK DIFFERENTLY. We all interpret and imagine things differently than the person next to us (or than the author) AND THATS OKAY. Because we as readers will take care of the little details, and when the author robs us of this opportunity, it kinda takes the fun out of reading.
In my favorite book, Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy, by Ally Carter, there's a scene where two people went on a study date. But she didn't actually write about how the MC sat, or when she pulled out her text book, or if she put her elbows on the table, etc. She left that for us to imagine. She DID write about how the date sat pushed his chair back onto the back two legs, and how when he was asked a question, he raised his eyes, but not his head. She gave the IMPORTANT LITTLE details, but not the INSIGNIFICANT ONES.
Don't get me wrong, I love it when there are details that bring the story to life. But don't over do it ( like I was). So when you sit down to write, don't be afraid to take out some of the small (and insignificant) details that most readers will just add in anyway. Too much detail can bog down writing and slow the pace of things, which, well, is obviously not a good thing. Of course, I'm not saying get rid of ALL small details, because they can be important to writing.
Im just saying ( for about the third time now) to get rid of the INSIGNIFICANT ones.
So what do you think? Do you also think that too much detail can be a bad thing, and would you mind, as an author, if readers didn't interpret things the same way you do? Also, when your reading, do you take time to visualize everything to extreme detail, or do you just imagine what's written on the page? Answer below!