Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Negative Space

Negative space is a basic concept for visual artists. It's the place where there is nothing. The missing. A drawing can show the subject -- as well as mood and atmosphere -- with a few key strokes of the pencil. Sometimes photographic composition depends on what isn't in the picture. Or, as above, how you define the negative space defines what you actually see.

In writing there's also a need for negative space. What the author leaves out may define the rest of the story. Or it makes it far larger than the words, hinting at meaning, inviting us to fill in the blanks with our imaginations.

In fact, in order for writing to be universal, there has to be plenty of space for readers to plug in what they know from their individual lives. Room to read between the lines and layer in their own interpretations.

That synthesis between writing and reading creates an experience that's a little different for every single person. The story we writers have in our head and then put down on the page or screen is always going to be altered by the reader reading it. Always.

How humbling. And how very, very cool.

Remember, the contest is still running for the Advance Readers Copy of Something Borrowed, Something Bleu. Just leave a comment on any Hearth Cricket post to enter the drawing.


  1. The photo is so neat. I saw the cup, but I moved slights and saw the faces.

    Thoughts in Progress

  2. What a great post! I think about this all the time as I write. I am always reevaluating how much to put into words and how much to let the reader fill in...

  3. Cricket -- I'm not trying to drive you crazy or anything, but I have another award for you at my blog today Wed. the 19th) -- the Picasso Award for all those great outdoors and food pictures. After this, I'll give you a break. :)

  4. Mason, I love optical illusions, too.

    Thanks, Shaylen. It's a tricky business getting the balance right, isn't it?

    Lol, Patricia -- you do anything but drive me crazy. Thanks for the award!

  5. What a cool photo! And I love the idea that someone is going to get to read your new book before the rest of us ~ please, let it be me ~ I miss Sophie Mae! Guess I have to leave my name this time...Mindy :-)