Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Devil's in the Details

In the age of Twitter and IM-ing, it seems as though many novels are starting to reflect our fast paced society. The action is quick, the details few. However with steampunk, we are dealing not only with a different time period to modern day, but an alternative reality, a world all our own, and it is those details that pull the reader into our world and allow them to experience it.

I myself tend to write very few details on the first pass. When starting to write, my mind races to get down the actions and emotions of the characters, wanting to get to the meat and bones of the story. It isn't until the second and third pass that I go through and force myself to fill in the details, and build my world, a layer at a time.

I, personally, try to avoid clumping all my details, and instead prefer to sprinkle them throughout, so as not to slow down the action. I don't mind making my reader wait to find out the details, and I hardly ever describe a room to great length, unless it is important to the story or unique in some way. Trying to find a balance between enough detail to pull the reader in, and not so much that it bogs down the story, is my ideal situation. However, if you can transport the reader with your details, not just tell them what something looks like, but actually transport them to that very place and time so they experience it instead of just read about it, then I think you could go on for pages.

So, how do you handle details? What are your challenges?


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