How Much Detail?

You’ll collect hundreds, possibly thousands, of setting details as you do your research, but, as with your character research, all of this information won’t end up in your novel. So how do you know when enough is enough?

Here’s a checklist that will help you decide whether to include or exclude a detail:

  • Does the detail avert attention from the main story line? (if so, take it out)
  • Would removing the detail harm the story or confuse the readers in any way? (if so, leave it in)
  • Does the detail answer questions the reader might ask—and if the questions go unanswered, will readers be frustrated? (if so, leave it in)
  • Does the detail clarify in readers’ minds who a person is or where a place is, in case you return to that person or place later in the story? (if so, leave it in)
  • Does the detail make the story more concrete, real, or credible? (if so, leave it in)

—Pauline Bloom in Writer’s Digest


This article was taken from the course Essentials of Romance Writing. Click here to register for the course now!

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