When we’re writing a novel, we’re leading our readers down a path. In the best case scenario, that path is one that leads to a satisfying conclusion. It can take years to develop the kind of storytelling that doesn’t get bogged down in unimportant details, but is holistic and tightly woven. As we write, we need to ask ourselves: Does this detail fit into the whole in a seamless, artful way, or is it just something I threw in because I like it? Does each paragraph add to, rather than detract from, the story I’m trying to tell? None of us who write do it perfectly, but our goal should always be to keep our readers off of rabbit trails and on “straight paths” that at the end of the book, leave them both fulfilled and longing for more.