The Devil is in the Details

By Michael Schilf · May 6, 2010

Imagine: Your character pours a glass of wine after a hard day on the job, takes in the aroma like it’s ambrosia, letting his palette embrace all the subtle complexities. If the devil really is in the details, simply stating it’s a glass of wine is not enough. There’s a big difference between a $500 bottle of Haut Brion and two-dollar Night Train.

When I think of my uncle – a guy who has lived in a motel room for close to two decades – it’s impossible not to identify the man without a can of PBR in his hand. Not that I have anything against Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, but as we all know, The Most Interesting Man in the World “doesn’t always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos Equis.”

It’s not to say that details can save a flawed scene, and of course bombarding the reader with too many is suicide, but when chosen wisely, the right details make a world of difference.