Dramaquill's All Things Writing

March 15, 2010

To be a successful writer Part 5

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Detail oriented

Do you have random numbers like your credit cards, S.I.N/social security/
health card, driver’s license and favorite take-out restaurants memorized?

Can you give someone a detailed description of something you really didn’t think you were paying attention to at the time that the event happened?

Do you remember obscure little factoids that baffle your friends and family, pushing them to ask you, “How do you remember things like that?”

I do.

I don’t plan on remembering these things.  I don’t even try to remember these things.  And yet, out they pop at the oddest of moments.  From obscure names of cheese to random account numbers, I seem to be able to call them up at will.

But what does this have to do with writing?

In a book length manuscript, it’s the little details that can make or break your plot.  Things such as:

  1. Names of minor/obscure characters
  2. Plot point details (ie, a character’s birthday)
  3. A subtle characteristic in one of your characters
  4. The layout of your setting
  5. Expressions unique to one of your characters
  6. Speech patterns in dialogue unique to each individual
  7. Simple descriptive details, like the color of characters’ eyes
  8. Type of vehicle main characters drive
  9. Days of week/dates/timeline
  10. Any detail the reader will catch that you missed in your editing

Even with such a natural aptitude for details, I often find mindself flipping back through chapters to look for some minutiae.  Such details definitely give consistency to your writing.

But there’s another way that being detail oriented can help a writer tremendously and that is with the actual task of running your freelance writing business.  Think about all the details associated with that from bookkeeping to submissions tracking.

What do you think about the need for a writer to be detail oriented? 

Let’s hear from you.

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