A Barebones Kind of Writer? — by Pat Bertram

As a project for a writing group, we were supposed to post the last sentence of a couple of our chapters, but it was hard for me to find last sentences that say much. It’s usually my second and third to last sentences that have the meat, with a final, very short sentence to deliver the punch, such as these chapter endings from Light Bringer.

She thrust the magazine at Mac. “This isn’t a picture of my parents.”
But the frantic beating of her heart told her it was.

She turned around slowly, and clutched at her chest.
The ghost cat was inside the house.
And so was something else.

Wisdom lay stretched out on the borrowed couch, eyes closed in feline bliss. The skin on its belly rippled gently as if being caressed by unseen fingers. A chuckle reverberated in its chest.

“Shakespeare was right,” Emery said. “‘Hell is empty. All the devils are here.’”

Still, I did manage to find several ending sentences that were a bit longer than most and even made a sort of sense by themselves:

Lying awake, staring at the dust motes dancing in the moonlight, he thought he could hear voices murmuring in the wind.

After the sun set, they headed home in a rich, warm alpenglow that turned the world to gold.

A skinny, hairless cat with luminous silver eyes sat on the porch and stared at them, a quizzical look on its face.

Could it be that they were all following a script of someone else’s devising?

They were met with a burst of color, a song of pure joy that seemed at odds with the harsh environment of the laboratory they had entered.

Hugh shot them a disgusted look, then he and Keith plunged into the light.

Hmmm. I might have to change my opinion about my writing. I always thought I was a barebones kind of writer, but there seems to be a bit of poesy to my descriptions, especially with longer passages, such as this one, also from Light Bringer:

She looked just as he remembered. The lithe body that moved as gracefully and effortlessly as a song wafting on a breeze. The shoulder-length brown hair that glimmered red and gold in the sunlight. The smile, big and bright and welcoming. Only her clothes—a pale green blouse and cotton shorts—struck a discordant note, as if he were used to seeing her in more exotic attire.

“Hello,” she said when he neared. The single word sounded as musical as an entire symphony.

“Hello,” he said, a goofy grin stretching his face. He felt a harmonic resonance and knew, once again, they belonged together.

After several seconds, her smile faded. “Do I know you?”

“Of course. We met . . .”

He gazed at her. Where had they met? Though it seemed as if he had always known her, they must have met somewhere, sometime; but when, in his pathetic little life, could he have met anyone so special? It slowly dawned on him he couldn’t have—not until this very moment.

Ducking his head, he whispered, “I’ve made a terrible mistake. We don’t know
. . . We’ve never . . .”


Where to buy Light Bringer:

Second Wind Publishing


Barnes & Noble Nook

iStore (on iTunes)

Palm Doc (PDB) (for Palm reading devices)

Epub (Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo)


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”


Filed under books, Excerpts, Pat Bertram, writing

4 responses to “A Barebones Kind of Writer? — by Pat Bertram

  1. dellanioakes

    Lovely passage, Pat! I’ve never thought your writing was bare bones. You have wonderful descriptive passages. I think what makes it seem spare is that you choose your words carefully and don’t use a lot when a few will do.

    • Dellani, that word choice is why I considered myself a barebones writer. I pare the words down to only the most necessary ones.

      • dellanioakes

        To me, bare bones means not giving the reader much, but I see what you mean. However, even if it’s well trimmed, you give the reader wonderful descriptions.

  2. Great examples of your writing, Pat. I too am a barebones writer. I have to add layers several times to give readers a better visual of what I see in my books and they still leave a lot to readers’ imaginations.

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