Today’s post may get more into nuts and bolts of the writing process than I usually do. Please remember that I’m not a big time writer, though I consider myself semi-pro. If those facts don’t faze you, read on.
Like a lot of other writers I have a head for details, and not necessarily the kind of details that are overly useful in real life. Today I noticed the outline of a moose on the plate I was eating off of at lunch, but I completely forgot that the dishwasher had been running earlier in the morning and thusly needed to be emptied, rather than having more dishes crammed into it.
A strange mind for detail. Yes. I have difficulty remembering much of what occurs day to day, but I often obsess over drama of times past, and sometimes even of books past. I have a lot of projects that I want to do, many series, many books. I seem to create new ones whenever I work on an older one. Perhaps that’s why my head is so crammed with information about fictional worlds, people, and places.
Creating ideas is easy for me, but every story detail I draw out feels rare and precious like a diamond pulled from the earth. Perhaps its because the details of my stories are specialized to one particular story, and even sometimes a specific scene or part of a story, but I feel they’re not actually as important as the sweeping movements of the piece. They probably aren’t that important, at least individually. Put them all together, though, and they become a very important part of a story.
Some writers, like Mary Robinette Kowal and Brandon Sanderson talk about doing a ‘detail pass’ wherein they add much of the world details to the story during edits. It clearly works for them. On th other hand, I don’t like to to do such things myself because I feel as though the details that aren’t intrinsic enough to include in the first pass may bog the story down. That said, I definitely write a bit thin on details so I have done detail additions to books before.
My biggest rough draft yet is definitely going to require those, because of the complexity and strangeness of its world. I still have not gotten back to that one, but I look forward to the time I can. Until then, there is a new rough draft for me to enjoy, and another round of edits and beta reads on a couple of other novels. Oh, and I have a short story I’m editing for submission to a contest that closes on Friday.
Can’t forget the little things.
Have a good day, and thanks for reading.