I love details. Every since I started writing when I was a kid, details have always been a main staple in my writing. I’m not sure really why that was then but it helped me in developing my craft. In my adulthood, I’ve found that details add richness and texture. Depending on the work, details have to be cut to fit the structure sort of speak.
In a novel, details help to add layers to the story and the world around the characters as well as add to the characters. In short stories, details have to be short, crisp and too the point but still add the layer of depth we see in novels. It is a fine line, let me tell you. In poetry, details are limited so every word has to make an impact to the overall motive for the piece. Writing in all three of these veins have helped me and given me a new found appreciation for details in my writing.
Details can also be used in dialogue. When I use details in my dialogue I like for them to be the critical points. This is need to know information type stuff. To this end details are story-bound versus what I call free radicals details. Free radical details are details used to set the scene, build the world, and create the dynamic characters we all strive to bring to life.
I’ve also learned that when one detail, big or small, appears in the wrong place, at the wrong time, is completely mute to the story overall or doesn’t come across as intended, it throws the whole thing off kilter. That one little bit is wrong then everything tied to it has to be changed, manipulated or taken out so that the rest of the story works. Sometimes they can be used to point to another detail that a misfit to the work.
All in all, details are the most important part of the story but that’s my opinion. They are the unifying force. It is important to always pay attention to the details.