Digression is something that writers do when they want to give extra information about a subject when that info would not normally fit into the main subject area. It is akin to setting off from New York to drive to Memphis, but stopping off to take in the Grand Canyon on the way, not to mention every stall by the side of the road that sells watermelons.
It’s worth digressing when the extra thing you have to say is interesting to your reader. For example, if I set out to tell you about my favourite ice-cream, you might appreciate me telling you about the first time I had that flavour, how it made me feel, what I was wearing at the time, how difficult it was to get that brown stain out of my shirt when the chocolate ice-cream fell onto it, what kind of soap powder I used to get in out, how long it took to dry afterwards, what kind of red berry the bird that pooped on my shirt must have been eating, what kinds of interesting words I used when I saw the new stain and what the neighbour’s grandma said to me when she heard me say those words.
And that brings me to the downside of digressing – when it goes too far. Sure, it’s nice and helpful when you stay within reasonable bounds, but if you go too far – you’re in trouble, buddy!
I usually like to digress (if you’ve been reading my work for any length of time then you’ll have noticed (what? you haven’t? well you can start now if you like (you don’t? well, each to his own *turns away, folds arms and snorts huffily*))) but I’ve tried not to do this (too much) here (you’re welcome) because I don’t want to turn into a cliche (yeah, yeah, I know – too late, right?) and also because it’s Christmas and I
have to go and have the opportunity to watch the Kung Fu Panda trilogy now. So I’m sticking to less than 350 words so that I’ll have time to do that. Yay!