For as much as we talk about crafting a story, developing characters, creating scenarios and other big-picture items, it’s also important we not forget the little things.
By ‘the little things’, I mean those tiny details that add just the right touch at that particular moment, and readers and audiences will notice them.
It might play a pivotal role in the story, but doesn’t necessarily have to. It’s hard to describe, but you definitely recognize it when you write it, read it or see it.
They can be almost anything. A one-time action. A casual line of dialogue. A fleeting glimpse of something, maybe in the background, or even the setting itself. No matter what it is, it has the amazing ability to make the story feel just a little more complete.
Just as an example, I had a scene end with a character asking for pancakes. To me, it was just a fun, throwaway line. But to my manager’s script guy (who really knows his stuff), it was a “great example of what this character is like,” and something he could “definitely see her saying.”
All that from one line? Who knew?
This isn’t saying your script has to be chock-full of this kind of thing; more like sprinkled liberally, or at least used at your discretion.
Start out by focusing on organizing the main parts of your story so the structure’s in place. Then as you’re putting the rest of it together and filling in the gaps, you’ll discover plenty of opportunities to add in the aforementioned little things.