Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Power of Suggestion

 Tastes change. Nudity has replaced Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, heavily cloaked in evening wear, yet dispensing rhythmic sensuality visceral enough to inspire shivers. Perhaps we lost something along the way, and as a novelist, you can restore some of that: Not with what you say but what you don’t.

Tip: Most readers welcome at least some inference.

So look for what you might suggest rather than state. Covert glances might substitute for body parts. Some sentences might go unfinished. Threats might occasionally stay implicit. Jump-cuts might replace some of your transitions, and you might gleefully risk someone missing your point instead of being offended by your over-clarifying it.

Implication can strengthen all of these fictional elements:

v     Theme
v     Humor
v     Sex scenes
v     Foreshadowing
v     Clues
v     Emotion
v     Setting

It’s harder to imply than explain, to insinuate rather than expose. It takes extra effort. Aren’t your readers worth that?

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