My project has moved to the back burner for a bit while a couple partners I have in this focus on somethings in their lives, so I figured I have extra time to devote to critiquing on Scribophile and to continue to be a member in good standing of one of the critiquing groups I signed up for. I'm being a bit coy about which group and who I'm critiquing because, well, I'm going to be ranting. And it's not really about this particular individual or their story.
But freaking hells, YOUR CHARACTERS NEED DESCRIPTION.
I don't need a block of text as one character looks over another and describes them from head to toe. But an adjective somewhere would help! Tall, short, smooth voiced, lithe, curvy, something. Especially if your opening chapter, my introduction to these characters, is a fight scene. Trying to picture the blocking of combat when characters are nothing but blank outlines is frustrating. Especially when the environment has no more description than 'forest'. Okay, I mean that helps, but what kind of forest? Old growth and therefore lots of room to move around? Densely packed with lots of tripping hazards? Bamboo? Unrecognizable alien planet?
Look, description is my weak point in my writing, this I know. You want reasonably snappy, snarky dialogue that reveals characterization through word choice and implication, I'm your writer. It's a bit of a challenge remembering to add enough description of body language and dialogue tags – I'm still working on adding more/enough after my first two passes, a beta read, rewrite, and in-line critiques, to say nothing of adequately describing the surrounding environment. So I really don't have any room to be throwing stones.
But Jesus Christ, this was beyond anything I've ever failed to add into my own work. It was the description equivalent of reading pages and pages of talking heads dialogue with no dialogue tags.
Critiquing is good for the soul. There is always something to learn, either as a reminder of things to pay attention to in your own writing or as an example of good writing.