wall to wall writing

Moss Wall by Olafur Eliasson

Just took a walk and saw a new house going up. There is no yard. I don’t exaggerate – nothing in the front, nothing in the back. The entire  lot is filled with house as close to the property lines as the law allows. Saw the same thing at a huge lot near UCLA. Got me to thinking about the idea of leaving room. In narrative, you need to leave room for the reader to imagine, to breath, sometimes to rest from the action. It’s part of why it’s necessary to vary the way you use language, sentence length and so on.

In his ongoing discussion of first lines, writer Aaron Gansky discusses compound-complex and run on sentences, including Dickens’ epic compound comma splice. There are points there to keep in mind for every sentence.

Beyond playing around with the sentence, it’s the way you present the action and characters and probably most essential, the manner in which you choose to narrate your story. If the narrator is overbearing and must tell the reader everything that’s going on, what is left for the reader to figure out? How can the reader possibly engage when there is nothing left to do? Give them a little space and your reader will do a lot of work for you. Use it to your advantage. Allow them the time and space to use their imaginations and they will love you for it. And love your book. Now get to work and write it.

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