Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Devil, The Details, and Me

They’re coming back to haunt me. All the little things I skipped over while writing my current book. They’re details I didn’t want to stop for – street names; what kind of guitar an aging country star would own; what time the sun sets in October in Branson, Missouri.
But now the book is done. I just need to insert these particulars to have it ready for my first round of readers. It’s not considered good form to hand someone a manuscript scattered with sentences like, “and he pulled into INSERT NEIGHBORHOOD NAME HERE, slammed the car in park and ran toward the house,” or “the kid had been enrolled since school started INSERT SCHOOL DISTRICT START DATE.”
I do it this way because I don’t want to stop the actual writing. It’s a good method to keep me cranking away at the actual plot without getting bogged down in research side trips that add to the book’s authenticity, but not to the plot itself. Because these side trips take time. A lot of it. I try for two verifications of every fact. And if it’s a judgement call between two things, well, that takes even longer. Who knows how long it will take me to decide on that country music star’s guitar.


Scott D. Parker said...

I do the exact same thing. All caps, but I also deploy "TK", an editing trick l learned about somewhen. Those two letters either rarely or never show up in English. Then, all you have to do is search for "TK" and find all those places. So, for example, INSERT TK STREET NAME.

Claire Booth said...

That's a great technique. The "find" function is definitely my friend at this stage in the process!

Kristopher said...

Oh, that TK tip is great. I am going to use that with my reviews. Since I write my reviews days after I finish a book - intentionally - I often have to go back to verify something and I have been using a question mark, but TK is better since it is easier to search.