Monday, December 10, 2012

The Bones Beneath

Hoar Frost, Andrew Wyeth

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape - the loneliness of it - the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it - the whole story doesn't show." Andrew Wyeth

This is how fiction should be – hinting at what lies beneath the story rather than making all of its glories visible to the naked eye. Let the reader use her imagination to see what else might be there. There will always be readers whose minds will jib at the first sign of uncertainty and say, “Wait, how old is this character? What year is this happening? Where exactly are we?” but that’s an occupational hazard. If they have confidence in the writer, they'll read on and trust that meaning will seep up slowly from the bare bones of the prose.
This means that it's also incumbent on the writer to trust her readers to reach that understanding all by themselves and thus refrain from over-explaining. It’s a fine line but a crucial one. Too much information can be deadly for art.  

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