Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Dee and Details

I'm back again after a long weekend of relatives, picnics, and berry picking. Picnic food is not my favorite. I don't eat condiments or any form of them (besides mayo in tuna fish salad), so that rules out macaroni salad, potato salad, baked beans (I know what my mother puts in them). I also am somewhat allergic to eggs (by themselves, not in baked goods), so no deviled eggs. I also don't eat potato chips (who needs the fat if you don't love them), and since I chipped a tooth on pretzel salt I've avoided pretzels, too. So basically my plate holds a plain hotdog (or hamburger if we're having them) on a bun, jello or fruit salad, and dry corn chips. If it wasn't for speedy cleanup due to disposable dishes, I'd mind a lot more.

The above paragraph illustrates one of Dee Henderson's trademarks - details. Every detail you bring into the story is an opportunity to connect with your readers. Mention a character is a lefty, and all lefthanded readers feel sympathy. (Any other lefties tired of the way all the writing on pens is upsidedown? Comment with your outrage below.) Show your character humming a popular song, and all those who love it will feel like humming along.

There are a few downsides to details. You may need to get permission to use trademark names or copyrighted songs. Details can date a contemporary novel, and it's hard to find them for many historicals. But they are worth the time and effort.


Anonymous said...

You really hit the nail on the head with this point. I read your description of your weekend and was transported. The details made the description, that's for sure. Thanks for this observation. I've only read one of Dee's books so far. Gee, I'm drawing a blank on the title, but it was the O'Malley book with the fireman theme.

I too am a writer working on publishing my first novel while beginning to write my second.

--C.J. Darlington
(a.k.a. Mountainview)

Anonymous said...

I totally agree, detail can be the difference between believable and pulp.

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