Sweat the Small Stuff

I was just listening to an episode of the Better Call Saul Insider Podcast. Vince Gilligan said that writers should definitely sweat the small stuff. We should pay attention to the details of our stories because otherwise we’re telling the audience that we don’t care that much about it, and they shouldn’t either. Peter Gould seconded his comment and added that we never know which detail will become important.

Of course, they’re talking about a televised version of a story, not a novel. So the small detail that becomes important might be a prop. That said, if you’ve ever seen Better Call Saul, or Breaking Bad, you’ll know that these men are master storytellers. It’s hard to argue with their success.

What can novelists learn from this? What are the details we should be sweating over? I don’t think it’s necessarily character background (although it could be). I think it’s attention to craft details; scene work, dialogue, conflict, stakes, and so on.

What do you think?

About the author 

Valerie Francis

Valerie Francis is a bestselling author, literary editor, and podcaster with a passion for stories by, for and about women.

Each month, Valerie recommends books from literature’s best female authors. Selections come from every genre because women write, and read, in every genre. The Women’s Fiction category offers up some terrific novels, but these days there’s a strong female presence in thriller, horror, crime, and other genres traditionally dominated by male writers. No matter what the publishing companies may think, in the 21st Century, Women’s Fiction is whatever we want it to be.

stories for women, by women, and about women