It’s in the details

Still on a painful ridiculous annoying involuntary writing hiatus. I wish I could focus on both the class I’m teaching and on the writing, but since I’m getting paid to teach, that has to come first for now, and by the time I finish all my required work for that, my brain is zapped. Especially after trying to grade papers, which is a form of torture I had been previously unaware of. I’m not sure if it’s more acute because I am a writer, or if it’s really that bad, but…it’s bad. It takes all that is in me not to print out each paper and attack with a red pen, correcting every tiny grammar, punctuation, and spelling error. That wouldn’t be constructive though, so I resist. Anyway, off topic. My point is that even if my procrastination left any room for writing, it wouldn’t be fair to my characters or myself to use the last of my energy to crank out a few pages. I would rather wait until I can give it my full attention.

However…

Just because I’m not currently writing doesn’t mean that ideas are not percolating in the back of my mind almost constantly. The music of windchimes floating across the air makes it clear that Eden and Kalon have another stop on their journey. A playful exchange rewrites itself into the pages. The background plot becomes clearer, and solidifies the idea that this story will not be finished at the end of the book. The sequel already has a name. And in my head, I relive my story, picturing the details.

And that’s when I see it. That one small detail that could ruin detract from my story. A seemingly insignificant thing, but something that I must go back and add to support the continuity of the story. I created a piece of technology (since my book takes place in the future) that I mentioned not just once, but several times in the beginning, but then forgot about. It disappeared from the pages, and from my imaginings of my characters as I pictured what I was writing. It’s something that not everyone would probably pick out, but as a reader, I would probably be all over it, because I pay attention to small details.

Let me give you an example. I recently discovered the Lux Series. Obsidian, Onyx, Opal. The last one comes out in July (and I’m DYING to read it!). I love these books. However, there is one scene that sticks out to me, not because it’s a big plot point, but because the main character magically changed her shirt between sitting on the couch and getting up to open the door. A tshirt while she was lounging turned into a soft sweater at the door. I reread several times to make sure she didn’t throw on the sweater. Sometimes I miss the quick change, like when I wonder how a character who was sitting in a bean bag chair is suddenly leaning against the doorway. To me, these things matter.

The small details are what really paint the picture and pull the reader into the story, and missing those details can just as easily throw a reader out of the story. Now, we all make mistakes, and goodness knows there are probably hundreds in my novel. I fix what I catch, and count on my beta readers to point out other issues. In the end, I hope that I create a story that can pull the reader in and keep them there. How? It’s in the details.

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