We, as writers, spend hours, days, months, years, searching for ways to tell stories and say things in compelling ways.
However, the longer I write, I find what I don’t say is equally, if not sometimes, more important to the story.
For example, on a recent weekend getaway, while walking in the woods, only blessed silence surrounded me. Because of the absence of noise other than the trees swaying in the breeze, I enjoyed the blue sky, the sun on my face, the trees, their leaves, beneath my feet, all the more.
How about music? Scores (pun intended) of examples exist but The Chain by Fleetwood Mac comes to mind. The song begins with a haunting blend of bare bones guitar chords and drums, followed by a beat of silence, before they begin to sing. In my opinion, that beat commands more reverence, more power than every other chord in the song, but, at the same time, complements, and sets the stage for those very same notes. Several beats of silence punctuate the song, and are equally powerful at deepening the tone and texture of that song. (Yeah, I love Fleetwood Mac!)
Linda Howard, one of my favorite authors, has an inimitable way of drawing me into a story, and usually, I feel I’m given little information about who the people are, why they’re together, what’s come before; I know only that there’s a problem that must be solved now. And I can’t get enough of her books.
It’s what she doesn’t say that keeps me reading.
Furthermore, what isn’t said applies, in my opinion, to the entire story–not just the introduction, not just the back story, but every scene. As a writer, I try diligently to entice my reader from beginning to end by continually keeping pieces of information, great and small, just out of reach. And when the dénouement comes, it’s all the more satisfying.
That being said, it’s back to my current work in progress, a paranormal romance, where my hero is busy not telling the heroine some key information about her background.
A MIGHTY GOOD MAN by Rebecca E. Neely
Only problem is, they’ve both got something to hide that could blow up in their faces, and with time running out and gang enforcers closing in, will the trust they’ve forged survive the ultimate test?