Elmore Leonard always said, and I paraphrase, “don’t write the parts that no one reads (skips over).” Here is his written down version to the left.
It’s weird though, about stuff like that. I know some readers that like the extensive backdrops, but a good writer knows when enough is enough. “It’s an art-thing.” Some don’t and stitch up too many “rear-curtains,” hurting the tempo of the story. I could mention many authors, but I won’t. My idea is that at very least you must “poetically” condense a setting or background as short as possible. (This is where Hemingway shined before his brain damage from accidents and booze.)
Here is something that happened to me that I thought “weird.” Years ago when I wrote My Gun is My Passport, I had to move Gunther from Texas to Washington DC, circa 1906. I decided to quickly describe the 1906 train station (I had a few historical photos) rather than have him – POOF! – just appear in DC. I condensed the surroundings, “poetically.” I slaved over it a bit, I confess, painting it up, yet condensing it down. Time marches on. Some ten years later a “fan-reader” wrote me “out of the blue,” and described how much he liked “My Gun.” Great news for me. But…and what did he pick to mention over this big, international action-packed epic? He said that he really loved the way I described the DC train station scene! Huh? What the heck? That passing scene of getting the protagonist from point A to B? Was…unforgettable?
Readers. It’s tricky trying to make every reader happy. My compromise is the poem approach. All the good, above-average books, action ones or otherwise, should be a poem without rhymes. Lyrics without music. I shoot for this and hey, it…ain’t…easy. There is a beat and music to writing. The soundtrack to every scene. It’s a torture I guess must enjoy chiseling on? I am so thankful for any reader who contacts me with some praise.