Writing Between the Lines

You know how in real life it's always the words unsaid that give you the complete picture?

The same holds true in fiction.

Sound easy enough, right? Like getting a farm subsidy for not growing corn or wheat or soybeans - just don't write the words, and you're home free.

Not so much.

Writing between the lines requires planning and practice. For me the trick is knowing the thing I want the reader to know without the characters talking or thinking about it or sharing it in dialogue. Then I think about how I can do this. One way is to use words that imply specifics. Add in a grimace, a glance, or a tapping foot, and you can convey the knowledge to the reader without telling them the information.

You can't do this with everthing, of course, but there are times when it comes in handy.

For example:
Jane stood stock still inside Tom's study, his most private sanctuary. She wore clean white gloves to avoid leaving any marks on the polished surfaces. Although he'd never shared it with her, she knew what the combination would be to his safe. She turned the dial, and voila. Tom never failed to remember his mother's birthday.

Here's what I wanted you to know:
Tom has a touch of OCD.
Tom is controlling.
Tom has never allowed Jane inside his study.
Jane doesn't like that Tom's mother comes first.
Jane is determined.

How did I do? Do you get an idea how this works?

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