Writing, essentially, is a string of choices you make about how to deliver information. You can SHOW a detail or you can TELL a fact. Often times, the best way to deliver this information is to conceal it. Or, more accurately, to hint at it. Often times, what’s not on the page is more valuable than what is. Often times,
LESS IS MORE
In John Green’s latest YA contemporary novel, Turtles All the Way Down, this is Aza the protagonist talking about her car.
“He was a sixteen-year-old Toyota Corolla with a paint color called Mystic Teal Mica and an engine that clanked in a steady rhythm like the beating of his immaculate metallic heart. Harold had been my dad’s car — in fact, Dad had named him Harold. Mom never sold him, so he stayed in the garage for eight years, until my sixteenth birthday.”
Meaning, Aza’s dad is not around anymore. Did he leave Aza and her mom? Well, duh. But how? A divorce, perhaps? People don’t really keep objects given by people who leave them. And realistically, objects go first and names follow soon after. An object belonging to Aza’s dad that no longer belongs to him but is still treasured with all the meaning he attached to it is unlikely to happen in the event of a divorce. We don’t keep objects from people who leave us but we do from people who die. Aza’s dad is dead. Has been so for eight years. He died when she was eight years old. And possibly, they were a happy, happy family once, all those years ago.
The funny thing is, none of this is really about the car. [mischief managed]