Sunday, 1 December 2013

Do you write gaps into your story?

Mind the gaps or join the dots - you choice
Maria Nikolajeva is writing a fascinating sequences of blogs at the moment and one really caught my attention the other day. She was writing about 'Gaps'.  The idea that reader's anticipate and want to fill in these gaps particularly struck a chord. I particularly liked Aidan Chamber's idea that didactic texts have no gaps. (It is an essay I must find) I felt better about the number of times I have been telling my own students recently to leave clues but don't tell the reader everything. Leave them space to engage with the text.

I have been contemplating this idea for a few days and yesterday I found myself writing a ''gap' in. I only found it when I looked back at what I had written during the day. I had left that space ready for my reader to make their own decisions. I'd left, as Blanchot suggests, questions on the page and it is up to the reader to interpret and answer them in their own way. All based on that cultural moment that I've spoken about before. I realised that the gap I left required some historical knowledge to fill. Is this a problem? I am not sure it is.

I would like to say I had thought far enough ahead to plan this 'gap' but I hadn't. It just happened and was a natural part of the writing process. It was an integral moment in the story, a raised eyebrow and a shifted sheet. As I said I hadn't planned it but I started wondering if an unplanned 'gap' is more effective than a planned 'gap' that is inserted during the editing process. This is something I am going to have to explore more, I am intrigued. When I have made a decision I'll let you know.

Do you deliberately write in gaps?

And here is a bit of my most favourite new man...Josh Ritter and Empty Hearts

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