Devil in the Details

This is a basics post. I find it useful to review the basics of writing from time to time to make sure that my scenes are as powerful, emotional, or descriptive as I can make them without a lot of exposition. I’m a story person. Give me the details that I can use to get the scene in my head and keep going. I don’t want to read every last detail of how the white flower looked wilting in the cracked, blue bowl on the scarred table. If I wanted to watch a movie, I’d have turned one on. I want to make my own movie.

The example that springs to mind (and yes, I’m dating myself again) is Snoopy sitting on the doghouse with his typewriter, “It was a dark and stormy night . . . ” Ok, sure I get the point. But wouldn’t you rather read, “The wind howled through the trees. The blanket of night wrapped around him as he squinted trying to see . . . ” Also corny, but you get the point as well. Small details in active words, give me a picture to go with and I’m a happy camper ready to get into your story.

What brought this to my attention is that I happened to read 3 separate posts on this in 2.5 weeks. The first one that I came across in my random writing craft quests was on the Romance University. For some reason Romance writers seem to be the most committed group of people to educating the masses in how to write. Anyway, the post was Rivet Your Readers with Deep POV. It mentioned a book by Jill Elizabeth Nelson called (go figure) Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View. I read the post, glanced at the book and forgot about it. A second post I came across was actually published 2 days before the previously mentioned one talking about the same book. Funny. I did a little more researching on the book, and went on my merry way.

Did you ever hear the quote by Ian Flemming in Goldfinger? “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.” Within 2 weeks, I read another post by the fabulous Patricia C. Wrede talking about virtually the same thing. Ok, enough with the brick to the head. Maybe this is something I should pay attention to. I go back and look at my writing. Light bulb! I see where this can be very useful. So every now and then your subconscious might be reminding you of something that you once knew but have forgotten. If you’ve never seen it before, well this is a chance to learn something new.

Finally, the key that brought all this together in my mind also came from Patricia C. Wrede in her post Imperfect Telepathy. Because after all, when I read a story, I want MY movie. Cheers.

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