Even though I just started this rewrite of the mystery spec, I’m firmly entrenched in the practice of always thinking “What’s the best way to tie this in?” for every scene. It’s something I strive for every time.
No matter how seemingly small or insignificant a part of a scene is, we as writers must be compelled to make sure it all fits not only within the context of the scene, but also within the story as a whole.
Everything should serve a purpose. If it doesn’t, why is it there in the first place?
Think of it as a slight variation on setup and payoff. While those usually apply to the plot (or at least should), tying things together is more of a way to support what happens around the plot. Anything that doesn’t belong is going to be even more noticeable.
It drives me crazy when something happens or is in a scene for no apparent reason. It’s easy to fall in love with your own writing, but don’t put something in because you think it should be there. Have it in there because it has to be.
Taking it in the opposite direction, I’m always impressed to realize after finishing a read (or viewing) how something tied in, but didn’t recognize it at the time. This can be tricky to get a handle on. You don’t want to be obvious about it, but also don’t want to make it too obscure. It takes practice.
So the next time you’re writing, editing or proofreading, keep in mind to constantly ask yourself “Does this really belong here?”