Writing Lesson #2 Flight of the Bluebird

In my last post I wrote about how the best writing does not out and out tell you the bottom line or the point, but it drops convincing hints all along the way that lead the reader to conclude the bottom line or point with a certainty that they’d never have had if you’d just told it to them straight out.

The best example I can cite for this kind of writing is the short story “Friend of My Youth,” by Alice Munro. I don’t remember how it was that I came across it. I almost never read The New Yorker, but that’s where I found the story, years, maybe decades ago.

In the story, the main character has a problem. Munro never tells you what it is, but after you’ve read ther story, you’ll know. It will be inescapable. I remember thinking about the story, long after I read it, and it dawned on me, coming over me in waves, what had happened to that main character; why she had suffered the fate that she had. And I became ever more sure of what her problem was and how she was kind of at the base of all of it – the reason for all of it. And it resonated in life, too. I knew others who were like the woman in the story and now I knew what their problem was, too.

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