Steps to a Story: Caught Up In the Logistics

When I was writing the most recent section of With Honor, I got wrapped up in details.  In this section, the army company plans to split up into smaller groups.  I got caught up in trying to figure out the logistics of this particular plan.  How many people in each group?  Who’s in charge of the groups if there are more groups than officers?  How do they choose the different routes?

I think that this is one area of which I am particularly aware when writing.  It always bothers me when the details don’t match in a story, or, worse yet, when it is clear that the author didn’t even stop to think of the necessary steps.  Ever have that moment when you realize that what the author wrote isn’t possible?  When suddenly there must be 10 soldiers in a group that originally had 8?  Or when a tiny peripheral character simply ceases to exist with no explanation?  It irritates me.  Therefore, I am always over-thinking the details in my stories.  I mean, come on, I sat down and figured out the genetics and biology behind a human-dragon lineage.  It’s a good trait to have, most of the time.  In this case, though, it was a bit excessive and not just a little unnecessary.

The reality is this: none of it matters.  It’s a short story; a scene will end with them planning and the next scene will start with them regrouped.  I had to remind myself of this fact, because getting bogged down in details simply kept me from finishing the section.  An  eye for detail is not always the best on for the situation.

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