Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Lost in the Details

I'm nearly finished a holiday gift project that I started when I finished the tropical quilt, and for once I'm trying to edit myself a little more with the embellishments. Curbing my enthusiasm for beading and lace helps prevent the stitchwork from getting buried. For example, one panel ready for embellishment started out looking like this:

And now is looking like this:

I originally had lace motifs all over the blocks, on the intersecting corners of the ribbons, etc. It looked very fancy -- and very crowded. More is not always better; sometimes it's just more. So I limited myself to two lovely motifs so my embroidery wouldn't get lost in the details.

Here's another example of less versus more:

When you're telling a story, you're giving a reader a lot to remember just with the people, places and plot you create. So when you do get into the details, remember to choose carefully what you embellish, and make sure all your other elements don't end up eclipsed by the fripperies.

I tend to write like I quilt, too -- bare bones first, establishing a solid foundation by focusing on the dialogue and characters and action. Later during my daily edit I'll add the embellishments (although not always; sometimes a scene comes out on the page with all the sensory bells and whistles from the get-go.)

How do you handle writing all the little details? Share your wisdom in comments.


  1. I love your sewing projects. So pretty!

    I'm not the best at the little details. They're all there in my head, but sometimes I forget readers can't see what's in my head and I don't put the details down. Having an editor helps. Heck, editing myself helps, but another set of eyes and another brain catch the things I forget. Yay.

  2. That quilt is absolutely gorgeous!! Can't wait to see the whole thing :)

    I never understood Deep POV until someone explained that it's in the details. I write with very sparse details through the first draft. I think that's partly because I've read too many books where my eyes glaze over from detail overload, so when I go back through, I'm always having to try and put in enough detail that the reader will get the picture without being covered in the paint.

  3. I love that quilt. Your stitching is so neat and uniform, and the colours are stunning. You are a very talented embroiderer.

  4. I have to say that I adore the quilt you're working on. Simply gorgeous.

    I usually keep a notebook that I write down details as I'm writing the first draft but the details won't quite fit into what I'm working on at the time. During the first draft, I try to write as much detail as I can. Then when I start the first edits, that's when I decide what is too much and what is just enough. Maybe this is backwards than most writers but it works for me.


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