Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday So What: Do you have a case of the T.M.I.'s?

 With the advent of social media, sometimes we all suffer from the TMI's (too much information). Does the world really need to know what you had for lunch today? Or how many times your kid went peepee in the potty (guilty).

Setting that aside, as a writer do you suffer from TMI? And I'm not just talking about inappropriate info either. Are your stories overfilled with choreography or mind numbing detail that doesn't provide insight or advance the plot? Do you describe the scenery to the last tea kozy? Describe the meal to the last crumb? Not every action needs to be shown.

 But Betsy, my character has to eat! True, but your character uses the potty too, but we don't usually narrate that.

As writers, I think we fall in love with the world that we have created, and we want everyone else to see it as vividly too.  We can fall into the trap of writing every moment out just as we see it in our heads. From which hand reaches for the salt shaker to the color of the marble flecks in the counter.

 Don't get me wrong, details are good. Especially slightly odd or interesting ones.  Done right, they can give depth and mean more than just the surface words. But too much, and those little pieces of the real meat of the story get lost in the filler. Think the story version of the 99 cent hot dog. Where's the beef?

Until next week, join me on my blogs as I plead for a civil political season (yeah that'll happen), in If you can't say something nice. And see if your eating habits resemble the family dog in Fighting Fido.

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