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?