Wurstfest is a local fall festival billed as Oktoberfest, Texas style!
Yesterday I sent the link to their site to a friend. On the site's General Information page, it states: "PROPER ATTIRE: Shirts and shoes are required attire for festival patrons."
Nothing about pants.
Does this mean we can go pantless? Try it. I dare you.
Nothing about skirts, either. Or things we might wear underneath. Or accessories.
While some of us - people whose lives revolve around words and teens looking for rebellion, as examples - might take this and run with it or at least giggle, all of us know what it means.
It means if you're ripped, don't show it off at Wurstfest. And they don't want to see any beer bellies, either. Cover them up. And don't show up barefoot.
This is a simple example of leaving out the plodding details that every reader understands.
If your protagonist is driving and parks her car, we don't need to know she turned off the key, pulled it out, unbuckled her seatbelt, grabbed her purse, opened the door, slid out from behind the steering wheel, stood up, closed the door, put the keys in her purse, and took a step.
We get it.
All we need to say is Mary Alice parked her car and walked to the front door. Or whatever she does.
The only time you need details is if you're slowing down time and building suspense.
If Mary Alice is driving to the house where she thinks she will find her husband and best friend locked in a steamy embrace, then you can use those details to get into Mary Alice's head and know her state of mind when she finally reaches the door.
Mary Alice cut her lights when she turned onto Nina's street. By the time she was in front of her house, she had slowed to five miles per hour to reduce the engine noise. Instead of pulling into her driveway, she parked at the curb. For a minute she sat still, breathing deeply, trying to calm her nerves. It didn't work. Nerve endings jabbed through her skin, and she couldn't sit still. How dare Nina betray her. How dare she seduce Ron away, even if it wasn't his first time to break their vows. She disabled the interior lights, opened the door, and closed it without a sound. The better to surprise you, my dears. At Nina's door, she pulled her little Beretta Tom Cat from her purse. Then she used the spare key Nina had given her years ago to enter the darkened house.
See how that works?