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I don't know if we are supposed to create emotional experiences, but establish the conditions in which the mind can create them.  The same for characters.  I have been progressively noticing something more and more in the best fantasy I read.  Writers don't have to describe every single thing in a room, but instead describe key points in the room, and they invite the reader to fill in the gaps between these key points.  It's almost Hemingwayian in a way.  

For example: The wind howled outside, but in the corner of the room a huge clay oven breathed dark breaths of blood-red warmth.  An old table long past giving up its last splinters to wear, sat in the center of the room, and an even older man's beard rested on the table.  His hands, knobbly like the roots of a cypress tree, folded together as the old codger prayed over his meal in a wooden bowl.  

This was off the top of my head, but it makes a point.  I didn't describe every little dust mite in the corners.  I didn't say how much money was in a pouch somewhere.  I didn't say exactly how old the man was, nor why he was sitting alone, nor who he was really.  I didn't say what he was wearing, either.  We know he's old, bearded, etc.  I'd be willing to bet that everyone reading that part filled in some gaps in the narrative of their own.  They likely established that it was a particular time of day (probably night), and etc.  

What's more, hopefully, I made a cozy, comfortable feeling.  I hope I've made people curious.  The idea is to make people want to ask questions about the situation.  I'm no master at it of course, but I think that's what we're striving for, yes?  


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