The Road to "My Compass Home" : In the Details

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

One of the hardest things for me as a writer?

Picking and choosing details.

I am a very detail-oriented person and love describing things with flair and uniqueness...however, oftentimes readers just want to get to the point or maybe don't even understand what I'm getting at.  This is the stage I'm at right now with the book: the next to the last editing cycle where I spend hours deliberating on whether I should add that detail or take this one out.  I can go on for two paragraphs detailing a first kiss, or only a couple of sentences to describe an entire town: there's no in-between and I have to somehow find that "in-between."  A lot of writers are told to "show, don't tell" but I can take that out of hand a zillion times over.  I once had a professor ask me to TELL more and show less.  What you guys see is often a largely pared-down version of my writing because of those rules.

Rule of thumb: don't go into detail on one specific object for more than 3 sentences unless absolutely necessary.  People will fall asleep.  Bad grades will occur.  The wails of bored readers are heard in the distance... at least, those have been my findings.  And if you are falling asleep writing, it might be a good idea to revise so you can stay awake too.

My one detail-oriented loophole in this series is Lucy, who sees the world with beauty and in abstract and with wonder.  Sometimes I wish more folks would be like her and see the beauty in life instead of focusing on the bustle of daily life.  It's something that Ellie's sister Gina has learned to do, and something that Ellie will need to learn in this novel.

There are no finite rules for details in writing,  and they vary between genres.  But no matter what, it's important to keep in mind that the audience doesn't know what your fictional world looks like, only you.  Write as such...and forgive me if I write too much!