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, you decide.
He eased open the stabbur, or storeroom door. No scuttling or hissing, no pebbles or sticks thrown at him by the nisser, who, according to Petra, guarded such lofts and barns. Its air was thick with smells. Curds. Cheeses. Root vegetables, poteter and rødbeter. Wheat and barley. Salted lamb ribs– pinnekjøtt–and other cured meats. His mouth ran spit. He lit the stub of a candle. Its wavering light drew in bins of beets and potatoes. And there, hung like giant, wingless bats, the ham shanks. He cut down the thickest. Tied it to him with a strand of rope he had brought for this very purpose. On his way out he thought to leave his lit candle alongside the grain bin. Let it burn down the whole stabbur–would serve the Sonders right. But Petra and the children waited back at their hus. He pinched out the flame.