It’s All in the Details

The artist working on this amazing  painting is Jeffrey Hill. He is a very talented, very versatile artist who recently finished up a large three-panel mural where I work. You can find out more detail about the artwork here.

Jeffrey worked on this project for about two months. I took photos of his work and chatted with him quite a bit during that time frame. I not only got a better understanding of the artistic process, I can now call Jeffrey a friend. A friend that I can chat with about not only his artwork but a variety of topics.

A few of the discussions we had recently were about how painting and writing share some commonalities. One that stood out to me was detail. I watched Jeffrey take the art project from charcoal sketchings to the detailed work of art that now proudly hangs in the foyer for everyone to enjoy.

It is rich in detail.

If you quickly walk by or give the mural only a passing glance, you’ll miss the detail. And the details are what ties it all together, what makes it rich and warm and inviting. The details are where the most interesting bits of art are hiding.

To fully appreciate the piece, you need to stand back and take a moment to soak it all in. To linger and absorb. To feel the moment and emotion.

Writing is kind of like that as well. We use words to paint pictures the readers can see in their minds. The more detail, the clearer those pictures. Without detail, our writing is shallow and empty.

Details are what bring characters alive. Readers want to know if the hero is ruggedly handsome with piercing blue eyes or if the heroine is small in stature with wispy blond curls. They want to see, feel, smell, taste and touch everything that your characters are experiencing because it makes the story so much more vividly alive for them.

Sit somewhere for for a few minutes. Quietly. Look around you. What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you see? Is the chair stable or rickety? Are you sitting in shade or sunshine? Can you taste the tang in the air from the neighbor’s barbecue? Feel a cat rubbing around your feet?

Describe your world in bright, crisp detail.

Now transfer that detail into your every day writing. I promise you won’t be sorry.

Remember, it’s all in the details.

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