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Matisse_Harmony in Red

Henri Matisse’s above “Harmony in Red” initially started out as “Harmony in Green,” then became “Harmony in Blue” before he settled on the red you see here. The painting went through a few incarnations before he figured out how to project an image that felt complete to him, in which everything worked to tell one story. “A work of art,” he once said to a French review in 1908, “implies a harmony of everything together.”

How do you find harmony in your micro fiction? Are you willing to try different things until the piece comes together as a whole? Can you let go of wonderful sentences – like Matisse did to what was surely an exquisite blue – because they do not serve the piece? We always like to think about the “Harmony in Red” example when editing our work. Matisse was brave enough to paint wildly different colors onto his original canvas until he came up with the right one. So if something doesn’t feel quite right with a piece of writing, we can be brave enough to explore another draft and try a different voice or point of view or alternate image. It may be just the thing that realizes what it is you’re trying to say.

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