Less is more is always true when it comes to the art of writing. Whether it’s a note to your boss, or a full length science fiction novel, finding ways to make a big impact with few words is always better.
When it comes to writing fiction, it can be overwhelming given the endless possibilities that come with developing a story, and with those countless options, one is bound to make mistakes here and there. It’s natural. Writing isn’t as easy as it seems on the surface. A great way of attracting a reader’s attention however, is harnessing the less is more concept.
When writing short stories, you are a little more limited in what you say and how you say it. This stresses the importance of engaging readers even more. Keep in mind that less can in fact mean more, so focusing too much on certain details like color and meaning, or using unnecessarily complex vocabulary may hurt your story.
Take the characters of your piece into consideration. Seeing as you’re dealing with a limited amount of words, you’ll want to effectively detail each of their personalities without wasting too much dialogue. A great way to do so is by utilizing gestures. For example, a quarterback heaving the football toward the end zone in the final seconds of the game could be followed by him being carried out of the stadium by the fans. Without describing who or how the ball was caught, the reader knows that a touchdown was thrown, and the game was won.
As stated by Writer’s Relief, the setting of a story can, and usually is just as important as the plot and characters. By describing where the story is taking place, what the weather is like, and in which season we are in, you can adequately paint a picture in the readers’ minds, as well as convey the mood of the story. For example, the quarterback who scored the winning touchdown could be on a muddy field in a downpour to detail tension, and the possibility that the game could be won or lost. Perhaps during that last drive, the clouds began to clear, signifying a comeback in the making.
Clothing is another great way to effectively tell the reader what the personality of a certain character is like, and even provide certain insights into the plot of the story. Continuing with our football example, without ever mentioning the fact that the main character is a quarterback, you could describe the numbers on his jersey and his varsity jacket while nervously waiting for the bell to ring.
Whatever tactics you choose to use in getting your point across in as little words as possible, be precise. Dialogue is absolutely crucial in driving the plot and developing the characters. Using brevity in your work allows you to explain your story without having to go back and elaborate on previously mentioned information.
Always remember, when it comes to writing, short and sweet is the way to go.