Tom Hallman on the power of details

Writers Speak

“I guess it gets back to being a police reporter and working for this editor. His name was Dick Thomas, and he was an assistant city editor. You would send in a story and he would call back and say, “Are you sure that was Southwest Portland?” “Are you sure it was a one-way street?” “Are you sure the cop had a revolver and not a pistol?” It was beaten into you. You didn’t want him to call and when he called, you’d better have the answer. Working under that system for so many years, I learned to ask all the questions and to really look at the details. At first, it was just a matter of having the details for my story. As I got more into feature writing, I realized that the details were like little bombs going off. They could do so many things in the story and say so much in a way that I, as a writer, could not. I want the readers to do a lot of work for themselves and I want to tap into what’s inside their memories, their histories, and find things that will help them tell the story for themselves.”


Tom Hallman

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