The above is a quote from mystery writer Elmore Leonard, one I always got a kick out of. How do you know which parts people are going to skip?
Well, I've gotten a partial answer on it.
I'm presently editing a nice book from a client about athletes, some of whom are from ages long past; setting the background for these people does entail a bit of history. However, I've discovered there's a certain amount of history that lends itself well to background...and a certain amount more that glazes me over.
And I like history. So that should tell you something.
What it tells me is that there are parts that should be edited out--the parts people will "skip over." I've never seen something illustrate this idea quite so clearly, and I know my author will have the final say on what stays and what goes...but it's still interesting to encounter, first-hand, an actual piece of manuscript that "shows" you rather than "telling" you, in a manner of speaking.
The trick, however, still is trying to get rid of this stuff before it's written and has to be edited out!
If I have any insights on what that might look like, you'll hear it here first.
In the meantime...keep calm and write your a** off! Because you can't have something to edit until something is there on the page, or screen, in the first place.