The Power of Specificity in Fiction

Kristyn J. Miller

The internet is rife with tips and guides that tell aspiring writers how to write. Many writing “rules” are generally agreed upon (i.e., avoiding excessive use of adverbs, and the whole showing rather than telling issue). But from everything I’ve seen, one of the most overlooked and undervalued pieces of writing advice is “be more specific.” Specificity breathes life into your narrative. I’m far from the first to observe this, but it’s a piece of advice that’s often been sidelined in favor of more technical feedback. Suspension of disbelief is a big part of enjoying fiction from the reader’s perspective, and the easier you can make it for your reader to believe in these people and places, the more memorable your story is going to be.

Specificity in Character-Building

In good fiction, you barely notice the level of specificity in the storytelling because it feels natural. When people tell…

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