|Lois Cordelia: Earth kissed by a raindrop|
Writing well is as much an acquired skill as a talent.
Of course, those with talent are more blessed, and will go further if they move ass. But certain tricks of the craft of writing can be learned, and Elision is one of them.
I did not know the term before, but I’d seen writers use the technique in their work…and for the first time, I saw the question of elision given concrete form in the following words by Janet Fox:
In art, “white space” lies in the voids of a composition. The drawing of a bicycle is defined by its edges, not by what we think of as a “bicycle”—the leather seat, metal spokes, rubber tires, or jingling bell. When we look at an image defined by white space, we fill in the emptiness through our association with the concept, through the memory and experience of riding, of racing, maybe even of falling off and scraping our knees.
Is there a way for writers using elision to meet our readers in much the same way as the artist meets the viewer by conjuring the memory and experience of “bicycle?”
I think most writers have used Elision in their work, by using allusions, metaphors—by not stating the facts but hinting at them in order to retain a sort of tension in the text.
Fox puts this beautifully:
I suggest we define the space created by elision as gray space—as the opening or openings within the text. In more metaphoric language gray space is “the shadowy landscape of dreams where writer and reader meet.” Where white space implies absence, gray suggests the idea of shadow and foreshadow, of planting the seeds of idea. And “gray matter” connotes the human brain; connection between the reader’s brain and the writer’s brain makes it possible for the writer to evoke emotion and tension in the reader through gray space.
The spiritual aspect of shared space between writer and reader is essential to reading pleasure. Complex associations (elements of mystery, use of irony, metaphoric language) result in happy surprises—the “aha” moment of revelation and discovery. Victoria Redel writes that “to say a thing directly in a piece of fiction…diminishes tension.” Emotional connection, generated tension: readers want to meet writers in gray space. We writers must strive to provide it.
I think the entire article is very well worth the read.
So, dear writers, do you use Elision in your work? Do you do it consciously or otherwise?