Writing from Inside of the Memory

August 11, 2011 § 2 Comments

Brevity editor Dinty W. Moore is spending the summer setting up our Paris office, but he took a break yesterday to answer questions at the Matador travel writing site.  Here he is discussing what he looks for in a Brevity essay:

The short answer is that I want a piece of writing to make me look at the subject in a different way or think about an experience in a way that I hadn’t previously considered. In a very short piece — we limit our writers to 750 words — that means a sharp focus and immediate movement from the first line of the essay. Whatever the writer is tackling, ultimately the work is about the self. So in travel writing, for instance, it is not enough to say “I went there, and it was exotic.” I want to see a personal connection, feel why a place got under a certain writer’s skin. If the piece is about a childhood incident, I want to be inside of that memory, not outside watching the writer remember it.

La transcription complète is available here.



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§ 2 Responses to Writing from Inside of the Memory

  • tinademarco says:

    Thanks so much for this brief, but necessary reminder Dinty. I’m reminded of this all too often when I read something that doesn’t quite ring true.

    Whether fiction or memoir, we all need to write from the inside of memory.

  • […] My experience in McCarthy this summer told me that it’s time to track back the tesseract. It’s time to take the long way back, remembering, paying attention to detail, writing from inside memory. […]

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