Four Green Squares

the tiny little blog no-one will ever read

Holes April 16, 2013

Filed under: clarion,writing — FourGreenSquares @ 5:31 pm

Writing thought of the day: holes

Writers are taught to see holes as bad: plot holes, motivation inconsistencies, and descriptive voids aka ‘white room’ syndrome, to name a few.

But since Clarion, I’ve grokked the importance of leaving holes as well.

Humans are pattern-recognition junkies: we see vast stories of gods scrawled in the stars and celebrity faces burned on bits of toast. Hell yeah, a reader can put two plot points together when implied through subtext.

So, holes: the trick then becomes leaving the right ones at the right time, as each story, each moment, will impose different demands. In one, an omission will need to be signalled as theatrically as draping a strip of gauze on the scraped knee of a sobbing toddler while other times, placed as stealthily as woven rushes over a spear-filled pit.

As in all, you have to know what holes you are leaving and why. But when well done, I think it engages the reader like no other technique because they become the storyteller, filling in those holes in a uniquely satisfying way, building a story perfect for them which you alone could never write.

So. Holes. And a realisation about writing that looks for a moment at the importance of things unwritten.


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