It is a common trap many novice writers fall victim to, and that is falling in love with the sound of your own words. I sure did. But then again I am a narcissist.
It is easy to get swept up in the emotions a scene can evoke, but trying to be too descriptive can be detrimental to your success. If as a writer you press too hard for people to envision exactly what you see in your own mind's eye, readers are going to actively fight against the direction you keep pushing them towards.
Here's an example which slapped me in the face like a cold fish:
I wrote of a character's suicide. Long, long, LOOOONG story short, he jumped off the roof of his building. Here's the kicker:
I was so descriptive about this unique building he jumped off of, that my readers subconsciously skimmed through the "evocative detail" I had poured my heart and soul into, or the "sizzle", and got right to the "steak". Which in this instant was: SPLAT!
I realized this when a friend of mine who (foolishly) agreed to read the first draft of my novel recommended the character not dying right away. To which i replied, "it's a 20 story fall onto asphalt."
And she said, "Oh. Didn't he jump off a bridge?"
The writer's job isn't to paint a picture; it is to help the readers paint it for themselves. And if you keep yanking at people's paint brush they're likely to either drop it and walk off, or jab you in the eye with it.
My eye's still burning.
Example two demonstrates how giving less description can assist the readers visualize things on their own terms:
In a scene I wrote, a young man under the influence backs his car out of his driveway, and in the process runs over a child.
Even without much context given, my readers wrote to me of their emotional reaction to the short passage I had sent them. How they envisioned the child's undone shoe laces peeking from beneath the car. How they imagined his lifeless body as the driver gently pulls him onto his lap.
The incredible discovery here is that my readers wound up visualizing exactly what I wanted them to, without my having to beat it over their heads.
You want to raise the stakes? Less sizzle and more steak.
Get to the point and voice it strongly. This way you can ensure the influence your words have on the reader will linger. Sort of like how strength training keeps burning calories even at rest.
I hate cardio.