why are details important in writing
why are details important in writing
The term “supporting details” can be defined as additional information that explains, defines or proves an idea.
The idea behind supporting details is simple; it’s all about providing information to explain and bolster your opinion, claim, or belief. How did you reach the conclusion or opinion you reached? The surest, simplest way to convince someone else to see it your way is to provide them with the same information you used to reach that decision.
It’s generally the small details that will provide your fiction with not just immediacy but also with originality. If you write honestly about the way you view life, about your characters and the situations they find themselves in and the meanings and consequences of those situations and if you write vividly, stimulating your reader’s senses and making him feel truly a part of your fictional world, then the originality will exist in your work. It will exist primarily because you are a unique human being. No one in the world is going to imagine, interpret, or present exactly the same story.
“The big picture” premise of a story might not be much of anything new. Take, for instance, the first Rocky movie, the Academy Award winner for best picture in 1976. There’s much about the premise of Rocky that would strike a lot of people as trite: a down-and-out boxer named Rocky gets a chance at the title. Nothing very original about that. But what makes the movie work is that the characters come to life so that the audience knows them and is interested in them. Little details like Rocky’s pet turtles, the photographs on his walls, the hole in his tee-shirt, the phrases he uses habitually–all these small things play a big part in his character development. (The same would be true, of course, if Rocky were a short story or novel or memoir.)
It is quality that counts in descriptive writing, not quantity.
But painting a picture isn’t a perfect analogy.
Writing in science gives students an opportunity to describe observations and scientific phenomena, and can help them comprehend new material by having to explain it in their own words. Fazio and Gallagher propose two instructional strategies to assist teachers and student when writing in science: a mnemonic acronym (POWER) and an editing checklist.
3. Good descriptive writing uses precise language. General adjectives, nouns, and passive verbs do not have a place in good descriptive writing. Use specific adjectives and nouns and strong action verbs to give life to the picture you are painting in the reader’s mind.
Descriptive passages have been vilified for stopping pace, killing tension and boring the pants off the reader, and for authorial intrusion. There is no argument that an overload of non-relevant description and a lack of connection to character can certainly do that. When writing description, the writer must discipline themselves to keep within the character’s perspective and to break up the character’s observations with impressions, reactions, opinions of what they are seeing, interaction with other characters or their own action. Think about being in the character’s shoes — what your senses take in and how that affects you, how new information changes preconceived ideas and so on.
For many writers, the many functions of description are often overlooked or perhaps never learned. Description, other than in parody or the gothically inclined purple prose, should never overwhelm the story or character. It should never be particularly noticeable, calling attention to itself for its own sake, but rather it should provide information invisibly: through character perspective, and within the observations of character. The five pages of itemization of rooms or the characters’ wardrobes can be stricken, and the cherished details of wild, stormy nights in general done away with.