Belaboring the Big Picture

From my archives:

It’s 10:30 in the morning on Sunday, February 5, 1995. And a phrase just occurred while I was attempting to reupholster two chairs that have gotten really ratty in the living room. “Necessity is the mother of frustration.”

I think I finally got a handle of why people get frustrated with me or upset with me when I’m trying to explain something in great detail.

To me, every little detail is important to understanding all the nuances of what’s going on, but other people get frustrated because they see the big picture before I finish filling in the details, and that’s all they care to know about it.

Of course I know this from our Dramatica theory of story structure. We talk about how, as an author, you should just put an outline around a story and eventually the audience gets it without having to fill in all the details. But I keep going trying to fill in the details that are so important to me personally, just like now.

I told all this to my daughter and I could see she was getting frustrated by it as she looked at me blankly. So I said, “I just went through all these details and explained how it all worked. Doesn’t that make sense?” And she said, “Sure it makes sense, just shut up.