Attention to Detail

One of the things I struggle with the most in writing, is attention to detail. Should I write, "She walked into the room and immediately pounced upon her long lost friend hugging him closely." Or should I write, "Walking into the room I felt the cold ocean breeze surround me form the open bay window. Noticing the warm blaze from the fire place balance the wind calmly from it's place. Toes soaked into the gray plush carpet as my sight caught the rows of books along with two Victorian style chairs taunting me with rest. A deep familiar chuckle made me forget all of this though as I snapped my eyes to my long lost friend and leapt into his arms squealing." And thus the three little bear syndrome takes place. Leaving me with the struggle of how to maintain a steady pace but still give enough details that the readers are able to envision the story.

A couple years ago I took my first English College course. The instructor gave me a small piece of advise regarding details and writing. Explaining that writing is very similar to cleaning a room. When you first clean a room, you don't go piece by piece but instead throw everything to the middle of the room and with each pass, put something away until there is nothing left. When I first heard this, I didn't understand how the two coincided. However after finishing my first book and rereading draft after draft of my second. Her words of wisdom clicked and I understood. If I just focused on one chapter or section of my book too much, trying to balance the flow and order of details, I lose sight of the book as a whole. But if I added/edited the details with each reading of my book. I could keep the story and a steady pace of adding, deleting or just editing.

As I said from the beginning, detail is something that I'm still struggling with. Trying to balance it so that readers don't just skip ahead (something I'm guilty of if authors describe too much) and keep enough description so readers can transport themselves into the plot that unfolds.