My all-time favorite fictional character has to be the great Mr. Sherlock Holmes. That is probably the reason that I also love the show “The Mentalist”. For those of you who may not have seen it, the main character Patrick Jane is almost a modern counterpart of Mr. Holmes – only lacking the austere aloofness.
In the case of both characters, the thing that sets them apart and makes them the best at what they do is their ability to pick up on minute details and form accurate conclusions from them. The most surprising thing about their methods is that they work! Granted, in the case of Mr. Holmes we always get the explanation of how he knows what he knows, and we don’t often get all of that with Mr. Jane. But a person who is paying close attention can actually learn a lot about you just by noticing details.
With that in mind, I’m trying to work on putting good details in my writing – details that don’t just give the readers a vivid picture of the (character, building, etc.) but that make sense and actually help us learn more about them. And we all know how important that is to good writing, especially fiction.
I decided to experiment with it one day a couple of weeks ago. My mom had taken me to visit a newly-opened yarn shop in town. While we were inside, I decided to learn as much as I could about the shop’s owner without actually saying anything to her.
Here’s what I noticed:
1. She’s had a facelift – maybe two.
2. She tans and colors her hair.
3. She’s wearing a huge diamond wedding ring and diamond pendant.
4. The shop is brand-new, opened in February.
So now here’s a question for the Holmes and/or Jane fans reading this: What does her husband do for a living?
P.S. Yes, you can figure it out using only the details I gave you above. I did it, and I was actually correct! Can’t wait to hear what you come up with!