Every day, a handful of WordPress.com bloggers are featured on Freshly Pressed. On The Daily Post, we take a close look at posts that have been Freshly Pressed, focusing on why we were drawn to them and what they can teach us about great blogging. We hope this series provides tips and tools to make your blog the best it can be.
It’s been said that there are only two story plots in the whole world: somebody comes to town, and somebody leaves town. Don’t Touch Me by Delusia is an intimately personal take on the former. When a woman’s lover returns after a long absence, her feelings for him teeter between familiarity and uncertainty. Here’s why we liked this post:
It was tightly edited
There are, I believe, two diametrically opposed elements that narrate our desire to keep coming back to each other.
One is our not even remotely knowing each other.
And the other is knowing each other so completely.
Delusia’s prose is sparing. A glance at her one-sentence paragraphs shows that she never uses a word she doesn’t believe is absolutely necessary. She’s mastered the art of pacing, a literary element that determines the speed of a story. Since she uses short sentences to drive the action, the story moves quickly. Notice also that Delusia uses active voice to accelerate the story, rather than the harder-to-comprehend passive voice, which can slow your writing down.
Strong editing also figures in this piece’s narrow focus. In under 500 words, there are only two scenes, and four characters, only two of whom have speaking roles. By editing out everything else, we’re left with only what we need to understand the story.
The author’s imagery familiarizes us with her subject
He sleeps with his hands balled up in angry fists. He claims that he spent our years apart in the arms of whores. He’s abrasive and ill-tempered almost all of the time.
Although she never tells us his name, Delusia makes sure we get to know the protagonist’s partner very well through telling details. Instead of saying, “He was imposing,” she notes that he makes the restaurant hostess nervous. Instead of saying, “He was an angry man,” she instead describes the way he sleeps with his fists clenched.
In other words, she’s showing, not telling. By harnessing sensory language and description, Delusia shows us the character, which is more powerful than having the narrator tell us about him.
We leave the post with an epiphany
This is a perfect example of our intimacy. A joke that makes no sense whatsoever, played on the unsuspecting, simply so that we can be pulled closer in each other’s orbit.
While descriptive, this piece isn’t just a character sketch. Delusia makes sure we leave with something, a nugget of clarity that tells us why this odd couple’s relationship endures. We exit the post with an observation about their relationship that can be applied universally, leaving us to ponder our own modes of communciation and how they unite us with our loved ones.
While working on your next post, think about how the reader might feel at the end of it. Is there a takeaway? Is there some way your personal experience might resonate with others? When you’ve discovered that, you’ve discovered the centerpiece of your post.
Did you enjoy this Freshly Pressed post for different reasons? Let us know in the comments.