1. Drawn blue and white floral curtains cooled the room from the febrile day outside by casting it in shadows. The immense bed was the only piece of furniture, gaily covered in the cheap cotton material which also draped the windows. Two worn towels were origamied at the foot of the bed with large red hibiscus flowers placed on top of them. A fan slowly whirred on the ceiling above, moving the shadows with each rotation. A setting any faster would have seen the dust being lifted from the woven bamboo walls and the thatch of the roof above. The brick-red painted cement of the floor seemed to join seamlessly with the door frame in which I stood.

2. The drawn floral curtains cast the room in shadows cooling it from the febrile day outside. The same cheap cotton material covered the immense bed, the only furniture in the room, brightened by the red hibiscus placed on the towels at its foot. A fan whirred above it; not fast enough to dislodge the dust from the woven bamboo walls and thatched roof above. The red-painted cement floor seemed to join seamlessly with the door frame in which I stood.

3. The whirring fan above the immense, hibiscus-strewn bed cast shadows on the dusty, woven bamboo walls.

Minimalism with words – When preparing a pitch to a publisher, three  are required.

One brief – one word to one line.

One short – a couple of sentences at most

One longer – approximately 150 words.

This really makes you focus on what your manuscript is about. To go from 50,000 – 80,000 words down to one word or one line really makes you focus on what is your book about if you are to impart its essence.

Similarly doing the same with a piece of descriptive writing can make for a very strong single sentence and makes for a good writing exercise.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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16 Responses to Minimalism

  1. xbox2121 says:

    Excellent post, I do enjoy reading your post because you are such and experienced writer. Hopefully I can learn a bit from you.


  2. Charli Mills says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Examples help me “see.” I greatly appreciate this. You must have known this was what i was working on, today! Although I made my first submission already and second one tomorrow. Two opportunities that came up and I have to jump in or I’ll stand on the edge fretting about the depth!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gosh I’m glad you came across this just when you needed to. I have to admit I’d forgotten the post until your comment made me go to the post to see what it was about. Dive in Charli – that way you have less time to wonder if you’ll sink or swim. Good luck with the opportunities.


  3. Reblogged this on Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist) and commented:

    On throwback Thursday I return to a post I did in Sept 2013 regarding writing the three pitches for the publisher. I did not do flash anything at this stage but the same principles hold for both pitching and flashing (I think). It certainly makes you aware of what your story is and how to say it succinctly.


  4. The shorter the better If in doubt, delete. Stick to the essence and avoid too many adjectives.. Easier said than done! One often reads in auto- biographies of writers, they wrote their best when they hardly knew what they were writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. M-R says:

    Bloody impressive, mate !

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sherri says:

    This is really helpful Irene, thanks so much for re-blogging it. I can definitely see how you and I are benefiting from taking up flash fiction. Just like you, when I started writing and blogging, I didn’t ‘flash’ anything, but now I’m flashing all over the place 😀 Seriously though, it is a great exercise isn’t it? Also, you’ve explained what publishers require with a short and a brief (and longer) so well…I was confused by that. Great post my friend, thank you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. noelleg44 says:

    Great post, my friend. Should be very helpful in trying to precis a book down to a blurb!

    Liked by 1 person

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