Giving Detail Its Due in Your Writing

Veronica Bale

DetailWe all know the two main problems that writers face when it comes to detail, right? Too much, and you’re going to either annoy your readers, or put them to sleep. Not enough, and you won’t be giving your readers the tools they need to reconstruct your scene in their heads.

But did you know that there is a third common problem with detail which authors, even published authors, overlook? This third problem is when detail is condensed.

Condensed detail usually occurs in sequences of action: small details strung together to describe what your character is doing at one focused point in your story. Unfortunately, many authors tend to gloss over this detail, and to force separate pieces of an entire picture into a single sentence.

Take, for example, this passage which I read recently (from which novel will remain anonymous):

After showering, [Alex] threw on his dress pants and…

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About Ethel Lewis

Born in Dallas, Texas in 1948 "Texan born and Texan bred." Currently live in Galveston, Texas. I share my home with my four friends and companions---all of which have four legs and very furry bodies. Two cats, two dogs. What's that old expression? "Jack of all trades, master of none." That pretty well describes me. Earned a living grooming dogs and cats for thirty years, drove an eighteen-wheeler for nearly ten years. Raised two wonderful children, a son and a daughter--both now grown, have 5 grand-kids, and 2 great-grand-kids. Love 'em all. I recently retired, and am excited to finally find the time to do what I enjoy doing most - Writing the stories and telling the tales, born in my imagination...
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