Cutting It A Bit Short, Aren’t We? By Peter Leavell



There’s a place.

Right here. Right now.

Know when the bite must strike.

Know when words must drift, a riddle in a middle school, from ears to lips.

Art. Words. Games.




When a book is clipping along, and then hits a spout and cyclones to the pits of horror, there’s a problem with the pacing. Grammar? No one, not even readers, care about grammar. Grammar is the onion in the scrambled eggs—the chef and connoisseurs are the only ones who savor the recipe. But pacing is essential. Especially if you’re writing in a minimalist style.

Here’s why.

Relatability excites the human mind, evoking emotion. And boy howdy, do we love emotions. To get a taste of emotion from a book, readers must be immersed in the work. Pacing keeps the reader locked in another world.
Breaking it down further.

Recipe: In a large pot, stir in—

A book.
Music is optional.
Mix well. Let sit until digested. To double recipe, live larger.

The recipe for emotion is a cupful of an actual experience, a bottle of 100 proof imagination, and a book. Any book. When reading the book, experience and imagination are activated by words, creating the grand triumvirate of a reading experience.

That’s why.

The book is premade seasoning, already mixed by the author.

You’re the author. You mix the seasoning. That’s the part you can control.

Minimalism means the reader needs a healthy dose of imagination and average experience. The chef must find the precise words filled with flavor. Here’s the key seasoning for minimalism. Give the reader rest by focusing on a minuscule action every now and again.

Shelves of tomes towered around her. Cliffs of dead men’s brains. Ghosts. Knowledge. Leaf presses. Her hand moved toward a red spine. She pressed a finger against the cloth cover, touched the gold lettering, the title, then the author’s name, wiping away a century of dust, one hundred years of lonely existence. Her name. On a cover. Joy once, now empty breaths of meaninglessness. Her first hundred years of death? A lonely, dusty death. Dead men’s brains.

In the italics, we narrowed in on our heroine’s actions and slowed the scene down with a run-on sentence, breaking the minimalism’s monotony. Readers relate with her actions in the slowdown, evoking emotion. Making the minimalistic style around the segment interesting.

The good part of this style: the characters interact with their environment, exciting the reader’s senses. The bad part of this style: This must be your BEST. WRITING. EVER. Because minutia must be active voice. So active, scenes dance from the pages.





Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing’s Best award for First-Time Author. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. Learn more about Peter’s books, research, and family adventures at
Posted: December 12, 2016

About Katherine Wacker

Katherine Wacker is currently a reviewer for Bethany House Publishers, and Howard Books. She is a Craftsman graduate of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writer’s Guild. She holds a B.A in History from San Diego State-Imperial Valley Campus. In her spare time she likes to read books, watch sports, and do jigsaw puzzles. She lives at home with her parents and three dogs, Charlie, Roscoe and Daisy.
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