Writers put onto paper how they visualize the events of the story.
Your get an idea of how you want things to look, maybe even a picture-perfect image, so you put those details onto the page, which is fine.
But sometimes the writer feels the need to include as much detail as they can. “To really paint a picture with words,” they might say. But it’s easy to get carried away. Some writers see this as a golden opportunity to really flex their literary muscles, so they go all out.
A big write-up about the contents of a room. Or identifying specifics about the clothing a character is wearing. That sort of thing.
While that kind of colorful minutiae might work in a novel, many see it as a negative when it comes to screenplays (opinions may vary, but this appears to be the general consensus).
There’s only one reason the writing should be that specific: if the item in question plays a part in the story. Is it vitally important that we notice it? If the answer is “no”, then all it’s doing is taking up valuable real estate on the page.
When the writer makes a point of identifying a particular item, then we should expect it to make a return appearance later on. Set up, pay off, remember? It’s better to have a reader think “Aha! So that’s what that was for,” rather than “Huh? What was that for?” or “Why was that in there?”
By drawing our attention towards something that is more of an issue for the set designer or wardrobe department, it slows down the story’s momentum and makes for some unsatisfying reading.
Tell us the things we need to know, rather than the things you think would be nice to know.
One thought on “Is the t-shirt THAT important?”
Very true, I read a comment on this subject about a description of a bar that went on for more than a page, but after taking advice like this the writerdescribed the bar as follows: the place was redneck heaven.