The dog came down the street.
The black dog made his way down the street.
The black Border collie, with two white front paws, clicked his way carefully, down the dark back alley.
The black Border collie, with two white front paws, clicked his way carefully, limping down the shadowy, dangerous, putrid back alley. The children had named him White Sox and they feared for his life.
It’s the details that make a good story. It’s the details that give it light, and life and mood and do the necessary job of getting necessary exposition told in an interesting manner. The reader must learn many things from every line, every paragraph. The beginning writer would hurry the narrative, like the reader, eager to see what comes next. But it’s the duty of the writer to tease, think, examine every element, whatever emotion it takes to make each word, each line perfected to drive the story, build each character and keep the reader totally involved begging for more.
Here are some very random examples.
“He would not be hanged if I did denounce him,” answered Wilfred with a wild but curiously happy smile. “When I went into the church this morning, I found a madman praying there - this poor Joe, who has been wrong all his life…Very likely a lunatic would pray before killing a man.” G. K. Chesterton The Innocence of Father Brown
It is hardly possible to conceive the extremity of my terror. The fumes of the wine lately taken had evaporated, leaving me doubly timid and irresolute. I knew that I was altogether incapable of managing the boat, and that a fierce wind and strong ebb tide were hurrying us to destruction. Edgar Allan Poe Narrative of A. Gordon Pym.
Much more recent examples...
Steve lay on a rickety raft that rose and fell with the waves. In the distance, lightning illuminated a shroud of fat, silvery clouds, and a thundercloud smacked the water. Steve felt the raft pitch and roll, even as he realized he was home in bed. Painkillers will do that.
“God bless codeine.” Paul Levine Kill All the Lawyers.
“Your fucking arrogance blows me away,” he says grasping my collar and lifting me to my feet. “You think I’d fall for your cereal-box psychology. I’ve seen more therapists, counselors and psychiatrists…Freudians, Jungians, Adlerians, Rogerians – you name it-and I wouldn’t give any of them the steam off my piss on a cold day.” Michael Robotham Suspect.
Wouldn’t you want to read more on all of the above?
Oops. I forgot the women writers—a group in which we are finally legion.
I watch Evvie smash her bouquet of Baby’s Breath into The Snake’s face. She hits him. He sneezes. What else can I do, but use my cane. He can’t stop sneezing, but it doesn’t hinder him from getting his knife out. I hit at the assassin haphazardly on the head as he swings his knife at us.
I grit my teeth. No way was I going to let him ruin my wedding gown.
I hear Merrill calling, “Hit hard. As hard as you can! Sound off, one two, jab him in the shoe, three, four, knock him to the floor…Rita Lakin Getting Old is Tres Dangereux.
(Sorry, couldn’t resist it!)