Description Woes

Description and details. They might possibly my writing nemesis. Creating balance between what is necessary and what is overkill complicates every piece I write. In the short story, I’m working on, it requires a lot of details so the reader can understand the scene. However, if I give too much, then it leaves the reader unable to fill in any of the blanks on their own.

As Steampunk culture is not my forte, writing a compelling story that hits the mark for readers has my story turning in circles and never coming to close. That’s great if I am writing a novel, but for a short story, it has to come to a stopping point eventually. So this is a chance for you fellow writers to offer an opinion. How much is enough? I will give 2 versions of the same scene. Give me some feedback on what works for you, and what does not.

First draft-

The surgery is performed like an intricate dance. Each step undertaking of meticulous precision before moving to the next. Hours pass as muscle and tendon are replaced by cogs and chain. Lengths of copper tubing are used to replace veins. Her heart, teeming with cancer, is lastly removed. In its place is an orb of metal, soldered to a framework attached to the ribs. The copper tubing, that will serve as arteries, are then welded into place. A series of gears and pistons are pinned to the limbs. The orb that replaces her heart is topped off with water, then welded shut.

Second draft-

Ada wheels the Grandfather clock from my study next to the operating table on a wheeled dolly. The glass panel has already been removed from the dark chestnut housing, allowing access to the pendulum and counterweights that keep time. Ada inserts I.V. needles, fitted against rubber tubing into each arm. The tubes run into a large glass vial where the blood is oxygenated then circulated back into her body. Attached to the clock is a bellows pump that will control the intake and outtake of blood through tubes with one-way valves.

I set the pendulum in motion, watching the bellows open on its fore-swing, drawing blood from Karina. On the back-swing, the bellows close, pushing the oxygenated blood back into her system. William, Ada, and I observe Karina in silence. The unwavering rhythm of the clock ticking off the precious seconds. I let a full minute lapse before deciding to continue. I nod to Ada who opens the I.V. valves while I clamp off the major arteries.

The surgery is performed like an intricate dance. Each step, an undertaking of meticulous precision before moving to the next. Hours pass as muscle and tendon are replaced by cogs and chain. Lengths of copper tubing are used to replace veins. Her heart, teeming with cancer, is lastly removed. In its place is an orb of metal, soldered to a framework attached to the ribs. The copper tubing, that will serve as arteries, are then welded into place. A series of gears and pistons are pinned to the limbs. The orb that replaces her heart is topped off with water, then welded shut.

Help-All of the above chaos arose from a beta reader asking if the patient was alive or dead during the surgery. So tell me…what way works for you.

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