Are my characters digging latrines?

Once I was reading a book where, after a chapter or two, the characters were forced to go on the run from some evil thing. The intensity of the chase was high, they were constantly on the move, separated from their defenders without a friendly soul to ask for help. However, during this bit of story, the writer went into what I considered a lot of unnecessary detail about what they were up to during this chase. I can’t remember exactly what the scene was, but it put me in mind of reading, in some detail, about how the characters were digging latrines along the way. It was as if the author had to account for all of their various actions and bodily functions. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t really how it went, but it felt that way. The small section of the book covered by this turned me off of the whole story. Loads of people loved this story, so maybe it’s just me, but I’ve read other stories with seemingly similar chase situations and liked them just fine. Either way, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about what it was that I didn’t like, you know to avoid it for myself. In the end I came to the conclusion what I really didn’t like was the pacing. The intensity of the action seemed completely at odds with the pace of the writing. Perhaps the author achieved what he set out to do, but I didn’t like it.

Back to my project: I’ve buttoned up a section of sub-plot, at least for the moment, and I’m back to the main character again. Before launching into that sub-plot, with a secondary character, I left the main character sitting in the middle of the woods. Now, I’m asking myself about pacing and action. I’m well over half-way into the book, and the main character is still lolly-gagging in the forest. I feel like at this point there should be some rising action or pressing problem bearing down on the him, and I even worked an additional, short chapter in to try and get there, yet it still feels flat. Things will pick back up as the chapter progresses, but I don’t want the beginning of it to seem boring or pointless. I guess the rubber-duck question of the day is: At what point does detail become latrine digging? The rubber duck’s answer for now: The main plot isn’t going to change for the details I’m working on and I’m already going to have to revise it to suck less later anyhow, so keep going and don’t get hung up on this.


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