General · work in progress · Writing

Scenes and Little Details

I was rereading a scene in the WiP the other day and I noticed I didn’t include a lot of details about the setting. Just the street, towering buildings and little potted trees.

Okay, yeah, he was just walking down the street, so he wasn’t thinking about the crowds. That’s important, since the WiP is 1st person and crowds aren’t something he’s going to notice.

I know he’s weaving through the crowds, and avoiding the tourists who walk five in a row and take up the whole width of the sidewalk. But it’s not something I mentioned. And now, thinking about it, it could come off as though the sidewalk is empty.

The crowds aren’t important, just one of those little city-setting details.  The crowd plays no role at all; he is more involved with his own thoughts and how it feels more like December instead of October.

When I wrote that scene, I am pretty sure I was thinking most people would automatically picture a street crowded with people and cars. But maybe not. When we arrived in FL last year, the drive from the airport to the hotel was a little scary because it was dark and the highway was empty. Maybe one or two other cars in the distance. It was 8 on a Saturday night. That’s after dark, but not that late, especially on a weekend. And, in all honesty, I have never seen a highway that empty. It was nerve-wracking. But for people who live there, it would be normal.

So now I am wondering, should I mention the crowd? A line on the sounds or smells or feel of a crowded street?

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6 thoughts on “Scenes and Little Details

  1. You should only included if it affects the character in some way, like he’s thinking or brings a memory (childhood, a date, a situation) that will reveal a little of him for the reader to start getting to know your character.

  2. I think a few words to set the scene would help. Unless he’s deep in thought and not paying attention at all and you want that to come across. But then, I *like* to know what a character’s surroundings look like, or smell, or sound – but not to the point of distraction. Just so I know where we’re at.

  3. Oo, good question! I think the crowds would need to be mentioned, but only as they relate to him. Maybe something like: Even though he wasn’t in a rush to get to , he did his usual dance around the annoying tourists who took up the entire sidewalk as they walked five wide. (But obviously in your voice. 🙂 ) That way, you get the setting detail in there, but in relation to his thoughts and actions.

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