I’m not really a detail-obsessed person. I often cook with a recipe in front of me but, about halfway through, forget that I’m doubling it. I’ve triple-checked a recipe to make sure I’ve added all the ingredients only to overlook the salt. Teaspoon, tablespoon…poe-tay-toe, poe-tah-toe.
This is why it’s strange that I was so obsessed with the details in one of my stories. A character needed to travel between two settings more than once in a constrained time-frame. I Google-mapped the drive and figured out that if my MC finished a scene by X, she would be on the road by Y and that meant she’d get in (with bathroom breaks and stops to fill up the tank) at Z. Hours, days…I was scheduling this story to a bizarre degree. I’d throw in the day or time to let readers know that I was on top of things. And just so the reader didn’t think my MC teleported, I’d mention the drive and the time and…boy was it distracting and boring.
I know I needed to log a lot of that as back story (information that only I need to know in order to make sure that the story flows). But was still itching to put it in, which is weird because I complained loudly, to anyone who would listen, that there was too much travel detail in Lord of the Rings (I understand I am probably alone on this).
On the other hand, I loved the 100-some pages in The Hunchback of Notre Dame that described in painstaking century-by-century detail of how Paris was built (again, probably alone on this). Not travel related, but talk about detail-obsessed.
Have you ever found yourself bogged down by the need to tell a detail you really should have kept to yourself?
And do you have a recommendation for a book that has a lot of moving around…that’s done well?