My POV character in the current book, Nancy, is much more observant than I am. I’m having a hard time describing the things she sees: of course she sees things that I wouldn’t, but she also sees things in a different order than I would — she can only see so many things at a time, like, one. But she sees things, consciously, rather than seeing them without noticing and having an intuitive grasp of them all at once.
Example. I was typing the description of a woman Nancy just met. I wanted to say that she was “slender and elegant.” Whoooooah, says Nancy. How do I know she’s elegant? Is it just that she’s well-dressed and has upper-class manners? How do I know she’s well-dressed? How do I know what upper-class manners are, especially when I have no idea how the upper class behaves there? There’s a whole realm of information hiding behind that “slender and elegant,” and I’m not buying that I would make the same assumptions you would.
Stupid writer, she says.
Okay, okay. Something go look for when I go back through. Now shut up before I cut your leg off…
Update: Here’s how it worked out: “She was taller than Nancy, slender, and smoothly poised as she kissed Gil on both cheeks.” Which later led to the following observation: “The room, as she stepped into it and accepted Marda’s kisses just past the surface of her cheeks, smelled like food, but unfamiliarly. Nancy had no intention of kissing her back; the woman’s face was covered with powder and smelled like a flower garden before the flowers put out.”
She still has problems with poised.