Minding the Details

In stories, people don’t usually exchange pleasantries during phone calls, but as much as people like to poke fun at the convention, it exists for a good reason. Hello and Good-Bye add nothing to the conversation two characters might be having. It tells us nothing about who they are. It offers no insight into their relationship. It usually doesn’t do anything but fill up some space.

There’s a lot of rules like that in storytelling. Stories do not usually bother with the minutiae of everyday life. I’m sure you can pick your favorite examples. One of mine is when characters have a conversation that continues through to a location change, implying that perhaps they stopped talking, traveled to a new location in silence, and then just started where the left off when they arrived.

These conventions exist because they allow us to skip the boring stuff and get the interesting bits.… Read the rest “Minding the Details”