When it comes to writing description the first question is simple: Is there enough? Too much? The goal is have just enough crisp, clear description in order to set the scene in the reader’s head–so they can “see it.” Ah, but you’re not done. Yes we need to see, but we also need to hear, smell, taste, and maybe touch it. Or feel like we could.
A second aspect of revision, then, should be you re-examining the quality of your descriptive writing. First drafts are often plot-driven and a bit thin in terms of the writing. In revision you can make sure you use a fuller range of imagery. We have five senses. Use all that seem appropriate for the scene at hand. Make it “real.” Make your scene play like a little movie in the reader’s head. Good description will do that.
Here’s a paragraph from a novel of the Midwest I’m working on. It’s a flashback scene of life in the “Old Country” prior to emigrating to America. My character is–well, let’s see what you think he is:
Karl Hauge eased open the stabbur door and was overwhelmed with smells: curds and cheese, the lanolin of carded wool, nutty grains, salted meat–sheep shanks and hams. His mouth ran–he swallowed again and again as he lit the stub of a candle. Holding its wavering light before him, he found the biggest cured ham (all meat, no bone) he could carry, then tied it to his body with a piece of rope he had brought for the occasion. He thought leaving his candle burning–let it burn down to the wood, burn up the whole storehouse–it would serve the Sonders right. Then he thought of Petra, his wife,waiting back at their hut, and their upcoming voyage to America. He paused for long moments, then pinched out the flame.