Brevity. It’s fun to say and challenging to achieve. For me brevity is that annoying voice in the corner that keeps telling me I can say more with less. To cut, tighten, and pare it down. It challenges me and I’m, no doubt, better for it.
Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Robert Bruce. He is the VP of Marketing at CopyBlogger by day, and a Master of brevity, writing very short stories at RobertBruce.com by night (or maybe also by day, I don’t really know, but that’s beside the point). The point is Robert is an artist. He manages to paint complex stories in a few vivid strokes. He doesn’t know it but Robert introduced me to Flash/Micro Fiction.
So in the true spirit of Brevity. Here are Robert’s thoughts…
Stacey: How did you become interested and start writing
very short stories?
Robert: I have a sickness for words, and I am a very impatient man.
Stacey:. Can you tell me about the process you go through
in creating one of your stories?
Robert: It usually starts with some kind of hook that I find interesting. If you can get your hands on one of those, you then hang it on a very basic plot. Of course, there’s not a lot of room to move around in these things, but I’m not going for a detailed literary inventory. When they work, the reader is left to fill in the gaps with her own imagination, which is much more powerful than anything I could ever write down for her.
Stacey: Which one of your stories continues to speak to you despite being done writing it?
Robert: Soon as I write them, I forget them. I need to get the next one down, and then the one after that.
Stacey: Out of all your characters who would you most like to meet in real life?
Robert: None. I find al of these characters interesting in one way or another, but to meet any of them would instantly strip that away. Just like life, right?
I think we all can learn a lot (and say a lot less!) from Robert’s points. Finding hooks and filling in just enough to entice the reader but not so much there’s nothing left to imagine is a challenge. When it’s done right it’s amazing. And whether you are writing a post on health and fitness or writing the next great novel, when well executed, brevity gives a power and punch to your work that make these stories hard to forget. Ironically, it creates more voice.
Thanks so much Robert, for sharing your thoughts on brevity and story! It’s been fun.
You can read Robert’s stories at RobertBruce.com
Or follow him on twitter at