The most haunting stories are those that don’t provide answers.

LIfe moves through disconnections as much as it moves through connections.  I read this line in Grant Faulkner’s wonderful “Mini Might” article for the August 2015 edition of The Writer Magazine.  He explains that he often, in his writing, focuses on what goes unsaid and unexplained to build suspense. Isn’t it true that what moves us in our feelings, opinions and subsequently, in our actions are the things we have to wonder about.  Whether we are wrapped up in what someone thinks of something we have done, or how someone feels about us which could range anywhere from love and romance to guilt, regrets, fears, doubts and so much more.

In writing, which reflects our everyday lives and thoughts , the writer shrinks down the regular tedious stuff to something that will draw readers in, resulting in tension and suspense.  Therefore, as Faulkner says, ” trust in the spaces of the story, in what goes unsaid. See how too much text can diminish the necessary whorls of mystery that a reader expects.”

Faulkner writes his stories, moving along through navigating through a situation and ending in a way that doesn’t conclude the action so much as to open it up.  Another colleague, he points out, has said that the last lines of a story should “create a silence, a white space in which the reader breathes.  That feeling the reader has upon closing the book. The “ahhh” that lingers long after the last page is read.

The most haunting stories are those that don’t provide answers, but open up questions. Life DOES move through disconnections as much as connections.  It is our questions that make us think and learn as a result.  I have been taught to ask a question when trying to come up with an idea for a story.  “What happens after death?”  “Why are some people treated so unfairly?” “What are the consequences to children of divorce?”  These questions are seeds from which a whole garden of stories can bloom.  And that is just the beginning. The best part is after the last lines of the story are read and those seeds are swept off the page, landing inside our minds and hearts, inspiring new questions and more learning.  By not providing us with the answers, but by opening our minds to the possibilities and inspirations, by providing the questions, or the empty spaces with so much potential, we are able to fill them in with whatever is important to us.  And that can take us anywhere.

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