Details details details! This is the other side of Altitude - down on the forest floor, trees soaring above you, you are on your hands and knees sorting through the pine needles for some thin sliver of a fact that you are sure is in this duff somewhere.
(duff for you who don't enjoy the rural world I inhabit, is the fine residue of decomposing organic material one finds on the forest floor)Details are the micro-view one must spend time in while revising. That means that every word (brush stroke) counts for the total mood you are after. This is no time to say in true Scarlet O'Hara fashion "I'll think about that tomorrow" for, my friend, revision is the tomorrow you've been putting off!
Here are a few of the details you'll be sifting through -
- word choice (is it truly the exact word you need here or did you plop it in during your mad dash through the first draft to wait until now. This is now!
- repetition and redundancy (both repeating words ad nauseum, and hammering a single idea in the belief that the poor stupid reader needs you to, fall under this detail)
- clarity - this is the thin line between boring redundancy and being poetically vague. We, the reader, need to understand what is happening. That means you also need to. If you don't - believe me we readers won't think you are subtle and artistic - we'll think you're a chump. And we'll be right.
- consistency with facts and character. If your character hates cheese in chapter two, don't have him tucking into a big wedge of Wensleydale cheese with gusto in chapter 17.
- making it real - this is a down on the forest floor item of great importance. When you go through your manuscript go through with a nose to falseness. Would my character really say this or am I just trying to force my plot point through? Would there be a taxidermist just idly wandering through the art gallery when my plot needs one or do I have to find another way to get them in the story? Like that only better.
- Weed through any summaries you may have deposited because on your mad dash through the first few times you didn't have time to make it real. NOW is NOW! Less tell, more show.
Okily Dokily - that's D for today - have a nice Easter Sunday if that's how you roll and see you on Monday!
Here's a sunrise over our beach (think it might have been December - no ice now - just three or four feet of snow...