If you’ve read any of his books or articles you’ll know what he means. A perfect argument is too obvious and boring and doesn’t engage people. Maybe the first 3 paragraphs will, but that’s as far as people will get before moving on to another article.
I can attest to this – the article has got to grab me in the first paragraph, never mind 3, for me to stay with it. I need some large puzzle pieces to be left for me to figure out where they’ll fit.
I began Malcolm Gladwell’s Writing Masterclass this week. He’s an incredible storyteller, and demonstrates the imperfect narrative in his stories, as he meanders from one story to the next until, finally, he comes full circle to where he began only to leave the listener, or reader with an open-ending, for the listener, or reader, to figure out for themselves.
This is irritating but it’s what keeps people talking about the article long after they’ve finished reading it, trying to put the puzzle pieces together. Humans love puzzles because we have a need for things to fit just so, but life isn’t always a neat puzzle.
So the key to memorable writing is to write an incomplete puzzle, an imperfect narrative that draws people in and keeps them talking long after they’re done with it as they try to solve it and make it fit just so.
Writing is supposed to become easier when it is done to express rather than impress. With the latter, to impress, the inner critic comes out, editing in real-time. With the former, to express, it comes out easily and unfiltered. I might have mentioned in a post many moons ago that to write unfiltered takes courage…because…
…and every day I pick up the quill, gingerly dip it into the slippery inkwell of inspiration to catch dripping thoughts before they fall away into the dark depths of the soul.
It is amazing that living things found on land resemble those living under the sea. And lest I forget, the mushrooms in the pic below, which resemble the blue bottles of the sea, also have a close resemblance to a non-organic human accessory, the umbrella – used on land – by people.
The tops of the mushrooms appear too heavy for their thin stems, looking ready to topple over at any time. Their milky whiteness invite a bold hand to touch them just to make sure that they are real. Their texture, soft and pliable to the eye may just belie hidden deception.
Nature is resilient and has had millennia of experience in protecting itself. It is not by chance then that uncanny resemblances that radiate across species has evolved over time ensuring the survival of even the most simple organisms.
A forest of anchors the iron hot to the touch, sit like silent sentinels against incursions from the sea. Half buried in the soft white sand of the dunes they are a stark reminder of long ago battles, the thin shadows offering no reprieve from the baking sun.
Wreck shore, they called it, the wood long ago rotted away, the row of anchors the only reminder of battering storms, of life boats hurriedly lowered and of prayers uttered aloud to an unseen god, asking for a reprieve.
The harsh sun beat down upon the thin strip of beach, its sand white against the starkness of the yellow desert beyond. Sand against sand, separated by a black line of anchors. A broken sign lies half buried in the sand, the bits of paint barely holding on to the wood showing a picture of the skull to those who cared to look – the sign offering no reprieve to those who had made it that far.