The Minor Details

When writing I always find myself fussing over the minor details of a story. At a glance you may think that they’re nothing you should be worrying about- especially if you’re still sorting out major details such as your plot- but that’s far from true. Minor details are often what make or break your story. They can be the difference between pulling a reader in and making them take a step back and think “woah, that doesn’t make any sense”.

I’m not talking about specific word choice and phrasing here, as that’s something completely different, but rather tiny facts or actions that come about because of the story you’ve set in place. These are most often the things that cause mini plot holes and inconsistencies throughout the work, and if you’re a reader like me, chances are whenever you notice one you become a bit annoyed too. If something just doesn’t add up, it’s likely that not enough thought was put into it. So don’t make that mistake, and put as much thought into them as you can spare.

I find that a good way of keeping track of everything is by simply recording¬†everything you use in your story. For example, a side character that appears more than once might have blue eyes. You write this once as a descriptor, but later on when they appear again, you might not remember that character’s eye colour since you have a hundred other characters. You’re not sure what colour you made them- but you’re sure you specified what colour- though you can’t remember where in the book you wrote it. So you say they’re green because that’s what you believe you said they were.

Of course, for this scenario, you know that’s wrong. It’s important to note, again, that lots of readers have a terrible habit of noticing small inconsistencies like that.

So as I mentioned before, a good way to avoid it is by recording everything. In Scrivener you can create separate pages to keep track of things such as places, events, characters, and any other details you think are worth remembering for use later. You can also do this by keeping a separate word document to do the same thing, or a notebook where you write it down.

It might seem like a large inconvenience for something so minor, but it’s worth it. You’ll make your readers happy and your book or story will be much cleaner. I highly advise it.

What do you guys use to remember small details about your story. Do you write it down to remember, or do you have another way?

~Erynn

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4 thoughts on “The Minor Details

  1. I’ve been trying to find something that works for me. I was rereading an earlier chapter of one of my projects today and realized that I had completely gotten a fairly major character’s name completely wrong. I’ll have to check out Scrivener and see if that helps. Thanks for sharing!

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    • Haha, I had a problem similar to that in one of my older projects. I only recently got into the habit of recording stuff like that because I noticed I was struggling to remember small details I’d decided on the second time through. Fortunately I haven’t noticed anything huge for my current work, like forgetting a character’s name. XD

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