Monday, November 13, 2006 the details

Do you ever have a phrase stick in your head, minus an important word? No matter how hard you try to remember it, nothing sounds right. the details. I was fairly certain it had something to do with writing. For two days, I thought the missing word was beauty. The beauty's in the details. True enough when you're writing. Individual snowflakes, the light against the tree trunk, a crooked smile. Together those details layer a scene, really make it come alive. And I'm pretty sure I heard Bob Mayer say something similar in one of his talks with Jennifer Crusie. Although in Bob's case, I'm sure his details had more to do with the satisfying click from removing the safety on his glock.

But beauty didn't flow quite right. It didn't have the proper rhythm for that phrase. I tried clarity. Details provide a great deal of clarity. The shimmery wings on my character's back are an important detail about her appearance that provide some clarity to her identity. She's definitely not human but that detail takes it another step further.
Demons have wings, nymphs don't. The clarity is in the details.

Still not right. Serenity in the details? Essence in the details? Confusion in the details? After awhile every single word I tried had a strong arguement for why it was essential to the details. The details started to overwhelm the phrase with their own ideas of what they did, where they belonged. I dragged other people into my internal discussion. I like to share the insanity.

A friend suggested that the devil was in the details. My initial reaction was hey, just because we're talking about demons....But then the more we played with the phrase the more sense it made. It sounded familiar. But it didn't sound like a writing phrase. I suppose those details can be devilish to describe. But don't beauty and clarity make better sense? Not just from a writing standpoint but from a position of truth. Of course Google proved my friend right.

But I like beauty. And clarity. And serenity.
What about you? What do your details enhance?

1 comment:

  1. Yup. You're friend is right. The devil is in the details. Meaning it might look alright on the surface, but you look closer and you see that someone else is going on. Like the wings on your demon, perhaps?