I thought I would do a quick article about ‘detail’ in writing. I think it can be one of those things that gets overlooked.
While we can wax lyrical in our descriptions we can still end up missing something and that can often be extra detail.
But why is detail so important?
Simply because detail adds an extra layer to the writing to help draw the reader deeper into your world.
Maybe you’re sat there thinking “well I add detail, I fill my writing with description.” Great, you should make sure there is strong description. But too often writers can end up using notion rather than detail.
For example, let’s assume this is the first line of a chapter:
Anna slid behind the wheel of her car.
Not the best description but it does explain what’s happening.
Anna slid behind the wheel of her Lexus.
Now by just adding the extra detail about the make of this car, we paint a whole new picture. With that first line maybe one reader pictured Anna in a Lexus, maybe another saw a VW Beetle or another a clap-out junker.
By adding the detail of her car, we add new layers to the image. Now we see the touch of luxury. Maybe that will give the reader a different image of Anna herself.
Let’s do another.
Paul almost lost his footing on the slippery pathway as he made a dash for safety. The metal gate gave a resounding clang, keeping him safe from the dog growling on the other side.
Paul almost lost his footing on the slippery pathway as he made a dash for safety. The metal gate gave a resounding clang, keeping him safe from the Jack Russell growling on the other side.
Maybe a reader saw a doberman or German shepherd chasing Paul down. Now we have the image of a man panicking to get safe some a small dog. This sets a different tone entirely.
These slices of detail help to paint a truer picture. As writers we might know that the woman’s dress is a striking peacock blue. But sometimes these little details can slip through the net and we may have described the style and movement of the dress and accidentally slipped “blue” in.
Now reading “blue” vs “peacock blue” can give the reader a very different image to what you are seeing.
A word of caution
As with everything there can be too much. Please don’t ladle in so much detail that it feels like you have Corporate Sponsors.
Describing Eric as wearing an Armani suit and Rolex watch, while carrying the Financial Times under one arm and twisting the Cuban cigar in fingers bearing Cartier rings as he heads for his Mercedes Benz SL65.
That can read a little heavy. So choose your detail carefully. Don’t worry, Beta Readers will spot if you overdo it 🙂
Hope you enjoyed this short post, I wanted to get back to sorting my blog and being more consistent. I am just juggling a lot of things right now but I’ll get there.
Do pop back on Tuesday, we should have another Guest Poster joining us. I am still looking for new guest posters, if you’re interested please check out this link for details of what I need and some deadline dates to choose from.
Thanks for all the new followers and for everyone who leaves me and my guest posters comments, it’s always nice to read them. You followers are the best!!
About Ari Meghlen
I’ve been a writer since I was given unsupervised access to pens and am unable to write anything shorter than a trilogy. I live in the greener part of the UK with my awesome boyfriend, 3 mad cats and 1 overly-confident budgie. I spend my time lost in imaginary worlds, making jewellery, taking nature photos or watching bad movies. Visit me on Facebook or on my Website or just leave me a comment on this blog. I love comments