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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?

Valerie Francis

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

Well, you’re not going to believe this. Reece Witherspoon and I picked the same book for our February book clubs. Sort of.  Late last year, I came across THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE by Marie Benedict and was fascinated by the premise. Benedict writes historical fiction, much like Philippa Gregory,

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Valerie Francis

A Girl Named Howard

This month, rather than recommend one book to read, I’m recommending the entire body of work of one author because Anne Rice, who passed away December 11, 2021, single-handedly revolutionized the role of vampires in literature.  Yes, vampires.  And the impact she’s had is more significant than you might realize.

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Valerie Francis

The Christmas Bookshop

If you’ve had it up to your eyes with holiday preparations and are looking for a light-hearted story to escape into, The Christmas Bookshop, by Jenny Colgan, might be just the ticket. The title is a bit misleading, in my opinion. Yes, there’s a bookstore. Yes, the plot unfolds in

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