For the letter N, I received 23 suggestions. Random.org selected number 7: nectarine.
How would you feel reading the following scene in a novel? (Please remember, this is off-the-cuff.)
Joan sat down with her friend Michelle on the bench and pulled a nectarine from her bag. She dug her nail deep into the fruit skin and tore a line halfway around it.
"I think we should go to Darin's party," Michelle said.
Joan bit into the nectarine. A little drop of juice slid onto her chip, and she wiped it off with the back of her sleeve "But his parents won't be home." More juice dripped onto the ground.
"All the better." Michelle rolled her eyes.
Joan thought about the party as she bit into the ripe fruit again. She chewed it, feeling the fiber crunching between her teeth while the sweet juice swept over her tongue. After swallowing, she said, "I don't know."
You see where this is going... or where it's not, for that matter. The question is: what's the most important part of this scene? Is it the food? Or is it the discussion of the part?
In real life, lots of things happen at one time. Right now I'm sitting in an empty room at school trying to write this, but I'm still distracted noticing the people walking outside, the noise from the fan, the large, loud meeting across the hallway, the car that just pulled into the parking lot. But if I were to fictionalize this time, I would need to focus the reader's attention on what's important, which is (possibly) none of those things.
Details are good, folks. Dot get me wrong. They just need to be the right details.
What do you do to focus the writing? Have you ever written a scene and wondered why you'd added certain details?