Monday, December 5, 2011

It's The Little Things


*pets giraffe*

Actually, I'm talking about the details in your manuscript.

When I'm doing a pass-through at the end of a revision I add in more of the "little things" that make a difference. More scenery, imagery, metaphors. They beef up a scene and add dimension to your writing.


Even still, it's important that every word counts. I underwrite. So if you overwrite and have to slash words, make sure to keep what adds depth and helps the plot feel rich.

Here's an example of what I mean using this simple sentence: I gaze at the night sky. 

I gaze at the night sky, the stars twinkling like little beads of glass. Or, My gaze travels above the trees to the stars, decked out in their sequenced dresses, shimmering against the blank canvas of the midnight sky.


It's those little words that add extra meaning, show your voice, create the art.

 *pets fake babies*

^_^ Happy Monday!


(images: adweek.com, zedge.net)

22 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

You're so true. I'm not always good at those details so have to go back and add them in.

Loved the picture.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I love your examples, Christina. Both make a huge difference in the basic sentence. And it's easy to see how the details help shape the voice. :)

Brilliant post!

Sarah said...

I love those details--they are what elevates the prose to something worth blocking out the rest of the world to experience. Those fake babies, on the other hand ... sorry. Creepy.

salarsenッ said...

I overwrite, as you already know, so slashing words during final edits has to be done with care. I have to reread, making sure I haven't axed vital information or pertinent description.

Love those pics, btw.

Jen Daiker said...

A. The giraffe is adorable!
B. The babies sort of freak me out.
C. Great post. I'm learning that every word matters, no matter how big or small. They all count and they all need to be our best. It's all in the details.

Hope you're well!

Today is the YA Tournament of Heroines bout - Hermione vs. Claire! Please vote for Hermione!

Christina Lee said...

LOL about the babies being scary! *cue haunted music*

Joanne said...

Details, details. They're so important, giving such dimension to our stories. And I agree with Stina, our voice can really come through in them too.

Jessica Bell said...

So true! I wish more people would write like that :) Creates the intended atmosphere.

storyqueen said...

I am an underwriter, too! (I don't mean to be, but my revised drafts usually end up 5-1ok words longer than the first ones.

(Love those tiny babies!)

Shelley

Slamdunk said...

Excellent example. I think I tend to underwrite as well; it is an occupational issue that involves "just the facts."

Susan R. Mills said...

I definitely underwrite at first. I love going back through and adding in the details.

JEM said...

I also love what the little details say about the characters, and the narrator as a character. Good post!

Meredith said...

I'm definitely an underwriter, so I have to add descriptive details like crazy when I revise. It really is all about the little things! But I agree with Jen--the babies freak me out. :)

Lourie said...

I love words. But my problem is, I am a rambler both in person and on paper. But I bet you never noticed that. ;)

Lydia Kang said...

The little words count, for sure. That giraffe is cute. The babies look like little erasers though, they freak me out.

Kelly Polark said...

I underwrite as well and add details and change verbs later.

And those tiny babies are a little freaktastic.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I'm going to agree with everybody else and say -- love the tiny giraffe, but the itty bitty babies give me the heeby-jeebies.

I insert the little details in both places -- in my over-written first draft -- and in revisions when I spot places where they're missing.

I do tend to ramble in my first draft, writing in details of no importance. It's only in the re-reading (and re-re-re-re-reading) that I see what's supposed to be there and what's not.

Sarah Pearson said...

Thank you for this. Right now, every single editing tip is like gold to me :-)

Theresa Milstein said...

Those babies on the hand are freaking me out!

Thanks for the post. It is the little things we shouldn't overlook.

Laura Pauling said...

I've been learning to do that. I've called it expanding the sentence so the reader lingers a little bit longer on the thought or imagery. Great post!

Donna K. Weaver said...

I love your examples there. This is something I'm learning. Sometimes I do better with it than others.

Patti said...

I tend to underwrite, so I need to go amp up descriptions and scenes after the first draft. I find if I don't then the writing feels too choppy and doesn't flow.