Tuesday, June 2, 2009


implications--meanings or qualities expressed by indirection or double entendre (see);attributions attached to a character by demonstrations of how that character performs or does not perform; markers or signals strategically placed in a story to cause the reader to make assumptions about the intent of a character and/or subsequent events in a narrative.

Implication resides at a considerable distance from--but still in sight of--the trope "show--don't tell," allowing the reader to see, to suspect, thus confirming that said reader has bought into the characters and their story. This is polar to the notion of the writer describing character traits. Under the circumstances of a proper set-up, the reader will assume two characters have some romantic destiny or that, were they to continue as they have, they will evolve to a serious conflict. The more the writer allows the characters to proceed on a vector of (a) each pursuing his agenda or goals and (b) each responding in some way to the others in a particular scene, the more implications will be broadcast for readers to pick up and, accordingly make. The reader is not only a natural match maker, as mystery writer Leonard Tourney has observed, most readers fill in their own descriptions and images of characters, thinking and feeling things about them, waiting for these thoughts and feelings to emerge.

Thus are the variables of assume and assumption introduced into the calculus of story to work their way on the reader.

Hint: As the writer, you know the tendencies and attitudes, even the secret desires of the characters, allowing you to write at them--in their general direction--but not directly to them. And thus will you have set your toe in the pond of implication.

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