A sobering story:
An airline mechanic doing a check noticed a small leak. Having just finished repairing a sophisticated malfunction which might have delayed the on-time departure of the plane, the mechanic made a quick decision: the little drip could wait until the plane landed at the next airport and went through another check.
The plane took off on time. But that little drip kept dripping. Predictably, since the weather was cold, the drips began to freeze. The little drip kept dripping and turned into a big chunk of ice. The plane was traveling at 650 miles an hour and the little chunk of ice broke off front he fuselage and rammed into the engine. The impact from those little drips turned into a brick of ice caused the engine to malfunction and rip right off the plane. A happy ending: An emergency landing saved everyone on board.
After the plane was examined it was determined that the part that could have prevented the nearly fatal mishap was a little rubber washer. In all, more than 100 lives were put at risk and an engine costing more than $1 million was destroyed—all for want of a part that literally cost 10 cents and a little attention to detail by a mechanic who focused on the complex and ignored the simple.
What’s the takeaway for us as creatives? Sometimes we’re prone to doing the same thing: overlooking the simple because we’re entranced with the complex or the bigger picture. We may get so involved in creating plot twists that we neglect to make sure our characters are full-bodied and believable. Or we may create an overarching structure that somehow overwhelms the heart of the story we’re trying to tell.
So let’s remember that sometimes the simplest solution is the most powerful one. Let’s also keep in mind that small steps can reap big results: paying attention to details as we write can add up to a story that our readers will love and want to immerse themselves in. Write on!
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