Taking away concentrates what’s left. Restraint is powerful. In Girl With a Pearl Earring, the two main characters touch just twice—a hand, an ear—but readers tell me those are some of the most erotic moments they’ve read. In my new novel, The Last Runaway, the heroine is a Quaker and says little, in keeping with the tradition of silence at Quaker meetings. Through the drafts I kept cutting her lines, so that now when Honor Bright speaks, you notice.
By using fewer words, I am also giving readers the chance to fill the gaps with their own. “Less is more” encourages collaboration, which is what a book should be—a contract between writer and reader.
January 22, 2013
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