PW: The narrator describes many small details about the landscape at King’s Hot Chicken Shack. This attention to detail fits with a story narrated by a security guard monitoring a scene, and the details really added flavor and feeling to the story. Would you discuss your views on how much detail to unfurl for a given story and your creative approach for thinking about what to cut/keep during revisions?
MB: I used to be a minimalist. I thought, “Tell readers just enough that they can fill in the rest themselves.” I thought, “Tell them there’s a quilt in the room. And a chair. And a floor. Then they’ll see everything.” Now though, something’s changed. My palate, I guess. I’ve undergone some transformation, unintentionally, as a storyteller. Now I’m a maximalist. Now I think, “Tell readers so much that they almost have to squint from all that color.” Now I think, “Tell them there’s a faded quilt draped over a tufted armchair with cracking leather, and wool socks drying on a radiator, and discolored wallpaper with a pattern of vines, and gusts of snow rattling the windowpanes, and a rug, and a globe, and a missing floorboard beneath which something may have been hidden and then taken away. Then they see everything.” To me this story seems to have both minimalist and maximalist moments… I must have written it somewhere midtransformation? (That’s the room where I’m sitting now, by the way.)