Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Frank Conroy on irrelevant details [Writing]

Writer's Almanac mentioned Frank Conroy today and included this bit:
He once scolded a student for using irrelevant details in her short story. He said: "The author makes a tacit deal with the reader. You hand them a backpack. You ask them to place certain things in it — to remember, to keep in mind — as they make their way up the hill. If you hand them a yellow Volkswagen and they have to haul this to the top of the mountain — to the end of the story — and they find that this Volkswagen has nothing whatsoever to do with your story, you're going to have a very irritated reader on your hands."
She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways by William Wordsworth | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor