As I prepare to edit my 6th book, Caroline’s Story: A Glenn Lake Series Novel, I am thinking about how to balance the storytelling with the details to include in the book.
What do I mean?
Well, I’ll tell you. A lot of people will say only include things that move the story forward, while others say to include realistic things like brushing their hair or eating. And I agree with both because in real life we do things that don’t move our story forward, they just are details of life, but as a whole we do things that move our stories forward. This is what I try to do as a writer.
But how to balance this to tell the story and not get bogged down by too much detail? That is always a challenge.
So as I am close to “the end” on this book, I will start thinking about what to cut, what to add, what moves the story forward, what doesn’t move the story forward but is necessary to tell the story and what really just plain doesn’t fit.
Details though can be fun and again they make the story feel realistic because sometimes the character just really wants a cup of coffee or tea with a friend.
In Caroline’s story, I mention her watching television because I remember that in the late 60s and early 70s, TV was a family thing that many people did. It was almost a ritual in some families. The news was important because there wasn’t internet yet. There were also must see family shows that they enjoyed, like All in the Family or the Carol Burnett Show or the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I’m sure it wasn’t all families, but many so for her and her family, it was that and I include it even for times she is alone… she is alone a lot and fills a void.
It can be difficult to know what will hit for a reader though. Will they understand my intent behind having her pick out just the perfect tea cups or a throw blanket? Why is she walking down the street to grab a slice of pizza? How does this connect to the story? That’s the job of the storyteller and the balancing act of it all.
I’m still learning and developing as a writer. I’m always refining my process, and this is just one piece of that.
So for today, this is what I’m thinking of… the details.