P.W. Creighton

It's The Unanswered Questions That Haunt Us...

Delving in Details

In crafting a narrative extensive emphasis can be placed on sculpting believable worlds from the nothingness of a blank page. A single flaw and the magic is gone, the story fades, dies.


Often a writer will build their world upon the structure of our own. An decisive and easy way to draw in an audience is to give them something that is familiar. A great many writers use this tactic so they can draw on what they know and give their audience something to relate to immediately. Through this method, a writer can focus their attention on building the story without much care to where it takes place in the world.

The reliance on letting the audience infer the believability of the world becomes a linchpin for the story. Even if the writer is crating a world from scratch their reliance on 'reality' and the knowledge of the world determines the audience's immersion within their world. 

"...the devil is in the details..."

In a narrative it is neigh-impossible to create a truly alien or unique world because writers utilize their knowledge of our world as a foundation for that world. This is where flaws can break a story, kill the narrative. Whether by choice or sub-conscious the details of a work are echoes of a writer's knowledge. While this may not be wholly visible to the writer these details are virtually transparent to the audience.

In a crime fiction an author should know that firearms are never called 'guns' but weapons, they should know the weight, the action, procedures. In a colonial romance it should be known that all houses had low ceilings, people ate with knives instead of forks, etc. In a horror, the motive should make sense for the antagonist even if it is never revealed to the audience. The writer should understand the psychology of their characters, they should be true to themselves. A writer must understand that their audience may know more about their world than the writer. Even the slightest details can break the immersion. 

The only way for a writer to overcome these obstacles is through research. Understand the world before they try to extrapolate.

How do you overcome the details?

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