Monday, September 14, 2009

It's All In The Details

When my beloved and I planned our wedding, we paid attention to every detail. The purple and white color scheme showed up in the flowers, the linens, the glasses we used for communion during the ceremony, and the candles on the tables. We made each favor ourselves complete with a personalized tag.

Prayer went into the music selections and the ceremony. We thought of ways to make the wedding fun for our guests. When our special day arrived, everything was in order. We'd done the best possible job and left the results in God's hands.

The books I enjoy put me in the manor house, the spacecraft, the boat, or in the jungle. The distinctive noises, textures, sights, smells, and tastes are all there. The author spares no detail. The heroine isn't wearing a dress, but a yellow, tea-length frock with a handkerchief hem. Little touches add up in our writing.

Do you pay attention to the small touches in your manuscript? What are some of the ways you pull the reader into your setting?

18 comments:

Diane said...

Good thoughts and very beautiful cake! :O)

T. Anne said...

I do more detail work during my edits. Incoorperating the little things as well as the senses. I like to beef up my novels that way.

Cindy said...

Great reminder post. I am trying to keep this in mind as I edit my manuscript. Details--just enough at just the right spot--can really make a setting and characters come alive.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Diane -

Thanks!

The cake wasn't mine. I'm not techy enough yet to upload personal photos. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

I tend to go fast forward with the story line and later, like T.Anne, add the details. I'm always looking for new ways to describe a detail.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi T.Anne -

I also like to add detail during the editing process. By that time, I know my characters better, and they get chatty. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Cindy -

When I read Randy Ingermanson's book, "Oxygen," the spaceships living conditions fascinated me. (I always wondered how they showered!)

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Donna -

Each person has a distinct way of adding those special touches. I can't count the number of times I've thought, "wish I'd said that."

Blessings,
Susan :)

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Hey, we had purple as our colour too.

I try to get into detail, but sometimes I overdue and have to cut back. It's tricky to choose which details to include to make it shine, I find.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Eileen -

Ah, a gal after my own heart. Purple is my favorite color - the color of royalty!

I find it tricky selecting the right words to describe settings, feelings, etc. I've read some books where mental gymnastics were necessary to figure out what the author was trying to say.

I'd like my writing to hit the target, so the reader doesn't have to go back and decipher an unusual description.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jessica said...

That's so sweet about your wedding! No, I'm not detail oriented and I have trouble getting into the little touches of sight. I do love, however, trying to put a read in the scene by using sound, texture and scent. But I def. have trouble with sight. I need to work on that. :-)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

Thanks. :)

Sometimes I forget it's not only about sight, but hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching. Maybe I need to record my own reactions to sensory input.

Ah, the sweetness of just-picked corn on the cob, butter trickling through each chunky kernel. (How am I doing?) LOL!

Blessings,
Susan :)

Terri Tiffany said...

I am so learning about adding the details as I tended to brush over them. Thanks!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

The big picture (basic plot line)is extremely important, but it's the details that make it come alive.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jeanette Levellie said...

Love the cake, Susan! Purple is one of my favorite colors, too.
Not surprised, are you?

I like to add detail by finding just the right word or series of words in a sentence, to bring the meaning into clearer focus.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen -

LOL! No, I'm not surprised at all.

Word choice is critical to helping the reader get the full impact of the story.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jill Kemerer said...

That is one gorgeous cake! Yes, I do pay attention to details, but they usually don't get added in the first draft. Creating a mood with description is something I'm working on.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jill -

The cake is beautiful; too bad it wasn't mine. 99% of my pictures come from www.sxc.hu (Stock Exchange).

I think it's almost unanimous that everyone adds the fine details during the editing process.

Blessings,
Susan :)