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Want to Write Compelling Fiction? The Key is in the Details

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Hey, I’m busy with classes and homework, but I want to share another writing tip. Somebody once said that the key to selling a lie is in the details. The same is true in story. It’s the details that will capture your reader will convince her to empathize with the characters and buy into the scene you’ve described.  Okay, so you include details, but what kind of details?

William Strunk Jr., author of The Elements of Style, gives us this advice, “the surest way to arouse and hold the reader’s attention is by being specific, definite and concrete. The greatest writers… are effective largely because they deal in particulars and report details that matter” (30-31).

But how do you know if a detail is specific and concrete? In Writing Fiction, Janet Burroway tells us details that are specific are things we can touch, feel, smell, see or hear. In other words, make sure that the details included in your scenes appeal to the senses (23).

Words Cited

Burroway, Janet, and Elizabeth Stuckey-French. Writing Fiction. Pearson/Longman, 2007.

Strunk, William. The Elements of Style. With Revisions, an Introduction., and a New Chapter on Writing by E.B. White. Macmillan, 1969.

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