It’s tempting to think you have to “write big” about big issues. It’s much more powerful, however, to write quietly; to whisper the most profound things. Even better, to “get out of the way” and let those things whisper their power all by themselves. Often what we leave out – or what we gently brush past and touch only fleetingly – is more powerful than what we say outright or announce with flourishes and fanfare.

Example: A first person narrator’s beloved cat is run over. Which of the following is more powerful?

  • My boy. My beloved boy. He was my life, my everything. Tears spilled from my eyes as he drew his last breath. Grief welled up inside me. How could I ever live without him? How could spring ever be the same again?
  • My boy. My beloved boy. A spring blossom landed on a crooked whisker, and his last breath blew it away.

Trust your readers to pick up on resonances and build their own universe of understanding.

Richard Price

2 thoughts on “Quick Tips #2: Write Small

  1. That’s a great perspective that I haven’t seen before, but now that you mention it, the works I admire are more of whispers than straight up ‘bludgeoning you with facts’. Thanks for this post!

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