As consumers of entertainment, I feel as if sometimes we forget the hours of labor that go into the production, editing and execution of a story. Hundreds of crew members flock to the scene of a movie to handle the many facets of what is known as “movie magic.” From the boring to the exciting, every angle must be orchestrated in such a way that enthralls the audience and does not interrupt the flow of enjoyment. For writers, this is no different.
We spend hours upon hours writing out ideas, notes or world building and while it is painful to admit, only a small percentage ends up in the actual final product. That is a reality that both Jei and I have had to accept recently.
With so many years behind our story, it has been difficult not to simply reveal every bit or bob that we have created. Getting so caught up in all of the details that are sitting both in our notes and the back of our minds, we have sometimes gotten carried away and allowed the inconsequential details to spill out onto the page. As tempting as it was to just let loose, we found the problem beginning to hamper our flow.
As we were writing we had introduced a minor character into a major scene. This major scene was meant to be the connector between all minor or major characters but due to the knowledge of how that major plot point connected the minor character to the major, we suddenly wanted to reveal exactly how this minor character had taken the time to call another minor character that then contacted the major character and got the major character involved. It was like watching a scene that was a drag out of people playing telephone. In our heads, we knew it was happening and worried that if we didn’t reveal it, the audience would be lost. But in reality, painting out the monotonous scenes did nothing to keep the reader engaged and added nothing to the story overall. This is where we had the sudden realization that the devil is in the details.
Taking a step back we sat down and had a conversation about what is or isn’t important when it comes to the details we wanted to reveal. We found ourselves talking about how we need to think of our writing like scenes in a movie instead of a continuous journal full of background noise with bursts of excitement. With this in mind, we were able to approach the scene differently and remove the temporary writer’s block that had reared its ugly head.
Sometimes we have to take a moment and think about what details are important to us as writers and what is important to the readers. While we may forever know our characters favorite food, unless it’s relevant to the story, don’t waste the paper space.