Have you ever had a friend tell you a story that started something like this...?
"OMG, you won't believe what happened. Last Saturday, Luke and I went out- wait, was it last Saturday or last Sunday? I got my nails done on Saturday, oh yeah, so it must have been Sunday- and we ran into this old friend of his from California- wait, or was it Arizona? He seemed really tan, so it could have been either one, I guess..."
And all the while, you're thinking "GET TO THE POINT ALREADY!" while keeping your smile plastered firmly in place. You were sucked in with the enthusiastic "OMG!" and then the story was derailed with a bunch of detail that you didn't need or care about. So what if it was Sunday or he was from Arizona? Tell me what happened! That's what we really want to know.
And yet, when we sit down to write a story, we think it's all-important to set the scene, to give the reader insight into the character, to bog it down with back story. And that's just what happens.
The story- the OMG story- gets bogged down in all that muck.
I'm working on edits now and am going to keep this idea in the forefront of my mind, to help with pace and YA voice.
How would this thinking help you in your writing?