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18/12/2017: Space for one more?

You may have heard it said that in order to find out what the story is about, you need to tell it to yourself first.

I was told years ago by the author Della Galton that we are in the entertainment business. It was a big message to me because I had never considered I was in that industry. But she was right. We provide entertainment for readers. We might spend night after insomnia-ridden night thinking about our characters or our stories, if this fits here or if that fits there, is that necessary, is this relevant, but ultimately what we do is entertainment, education or information for others.

We don’t tend to think about the reader straight away because we have to learn which piece goes where first. Constructing the picture that eventually becomes the story can be seen as a massive jigsaw; a puzzle that requires time, patience and creativity to connect. But there is a point, after several drafts, at which you have to consider the eyes that will be the final part of the literary puzzle. After all, we are writing for readers.

Recently, I heard it mentioned that we should ‘leave some space for the reader’, presumably to complete that metaphorical jigsaw. Also, to allow them room for their imaginations to work. I liked the mention. It reminds me that the reader makes up a big part of the creative process. Without their eyes and mind, the story does not get read.

So the next time you are struck with an idea or you are several drafts into your work-in-progress, just remember to keep some space for one more.

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