The Art of a Great Line

I emailed a writer friend to congratulate him on the short story he sent along for my read, and he responded with a single line:

In Errachidia on the Western Edge of the Sahara; typing on an Arabic keyboard/ Will call later in the week, back Wed/ Thanks”

Now, that’s the work of a good writer. He sets the scene, gets my imagination going, and makes me want to know more. He doesn’t waste a moment of his reader’s time. Every word counts for something.

Intrigued, I will look up Errachidia in a spare moment, locate it in Morocco, imagine for a second, maybe, that I can hear camel bells. I will also wonder about his use of an Arabic keyboard—he speaks Arabic? But for all this color and mystery, I have received real information—his whereabouts, when he will return, and the news that he will call. To achieve so much in the space of a single line, is the work of someone who knows his craft.

Less is more when it comes to power. Just make your sentences count.

~

Bill Schubart is the author of The Lamoille Stories (White River Books, 2008). Fat People is a new collection of stories. For his commentary and a profile of his varied career in business, the arts and civic policy check out: www.Schubart.com.

Photos used by permission of Bill Schubart.