Leaving Out the Details

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Tobias Carroll, writing over at Electric Literature, considers the level of detail authors use to create worlds in fiction. Some writers are known for sparse, minimalistic writing. Others leave out key details in a way that adds meaning to the story. Finding that appropriate amount of detail can be a challenge:

Enumerate too much, and prose can read like stage directions. Be too stark, however, and the effect can bypass a kind of pulp terseness and have the effect of an outline, something incomplete…The way that details are revealed effectively in a narrative can vary wildly.


Kathryn Sukalich is a Wisconsin native living in Oregon. She received an MFA in Creative Writing and Environment from Iowa State University. You can find her online at kathrynsukalich.com. More from this author →