Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Writing Wednesday: The Beauty of Brevity

Brevity is a wonderful skill for a writer to have–and one I sorely lack. I almost always over-write, at least on my first drafts, which means I have to spend lots of time cutting and condensing on subsequent passes. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth all the trouble.

But then I run into a perfect example of the beauty of brevity. In the memoir A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel, the author is describing her childhood bicycle, which was clearly as important to her as mine was to me. I lived for my bike, and if you asked me now to describe it in a memoir, chances are I'd give you at least two or three pages on the topic, a whole discourse about freedom and adventure and calamity and friendship and opportunity and more. Not Kimmel. Instead, here is all she says of her bicycle:

It was my stallion, and we had been down a dusty road or two.

That’s more than enough, isn’t it? In that one sentence, she has nailed the essence of the rich and complex relationship between a girl and her faithful two-wheeled companion.

Next time I'm tempted toward verbosity, I'm going to try and remember her example!

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