BULLshot: Matthew Baker

BULLshot: Matthew Baker

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.)


About the Author

Pete Witte writes and is the BULLshot Editor for BULL. He lives with his family in Arlington, Virginia.