Camellia Blossom

The Little Details

Every time I read the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan, I find myself craving a good cup of coffee. There’s just something about his descriptions of the rich aroma that calls to my taste buds.

These are the details I love in books. They help make the story real. I have a hard time writing about places I’ve never been because of this. Research may tell me that the flies in Venezuela can be huge, but without seeing them, I don’t know if they’re the size of grapes or peanuts, or if I can see the hairs on their bodies.

I might have been able to find in my research that flowers bloom year-round in South Carolina, but I love that I can say, from experience, that the camellias bloom in February with some of the most gorgeous pink and red blossoms that fill the air with their sweet, mild perfume. Or that the magnolias turn gorgeously white with flowers, and then litter the ground the rest of the year with their long, shiny leaves.

Partially washed by there are still a couple of spines on the side =)

I wouldn’t have even known to research what cucumbers look like on the vine. They have spines on them that rub off when you wash them later, but if you grab a cucumber directly off the vine, watch out, it might bite.

I think this is where the old adage, “Write what you know,” actually applies. Obviously, if I’m writing fantasy, I’ve never experienced what it’s like to fling ice magic from my fingertips, but I can say what it feels like to breathe in -20 degree air and feel the hairs in your nose freeze. Makes me think of rubber cement in my nostrils. (You’re welcome for that image 🙂)

And as I pay attention to such details with the idea of adding them to my writing, I find it just makes life itself richer when I pay closer attention to the world around me. We live in such a beautiful, detailed world.

What little details stick with you about a place or experience? The smell of coffee? Maybe chai? A sound or feeling?



P.S. I paused briefly on the HM II developmental edit to give my brain a breather. It’s still sitting at 38% complete. Instead, I’ve been cranking out the Zap Dragon rough draft, which I’m excited to announce is complete! Whoop! Whoop! Now back to developmental editing for a week to let my brain cool on Zap Dragon. I’ll be flipping back and forth between these two for most of this year 🙂

12 thoughts on “The Little Details”

  1. I love the little details that really immerse you in a story. The real fun is when an author describes the smell and taste of food so well that it makes you hungry just reading about it! 😂

  2. This is awesome, I love when good details can transport you to a place!
    I love the way my pen scratches the paper when I am practicing calligraphy. and the way you can see the ink bleed into the paper.

  3. This is one of the things I love most about your writing! All those little details just make everything come to life, and you do it so well. Quaking Soul still has one of the most detailed worlds I’ve ever read, better even than a lot of Orbit’s books, and those books take world building to the next level. Can’t wait for the next one, so good luck with those edits!

    Thanks to living on both coasts, and now having experienced more than 2 months of crazy California weather, I find myself paying more attention to it and putting more weather into my writing and seeing how it affects the characters.

    1. I hope the sequel to Quaking Soul lives up to your hopes! 🙂

      Weather used to hold such a force in novels! It was almost a character of its own. I look forward to seeing how you use it in your writing 🙂

  4. I really like your posts. They are very insightful and detailed. You’re a great writer. You are a blessing to your readers.


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