Fear in Writing: Fill the Silence

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fill the Silence

Last night, I finished The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth by Francis Wilson.  Blame it on the times or the strange magnetism of William Wordsworth, but the life of Dorothy was one of complete loss of self.  She was a woman devoted to journaling, to writing, to observing nature...and yet everything she did was for the benefit of her brother.

Sometimes a character's personality is lost in the strength of other characters.  But this can be their characterization.  Their complete loss of self can be seen as devotion to others or shyness or mental instability or secrets in hiding.  All were certainly attributed to Dorothy Wordsworth in her time.

How many quiet people do you know who are completely innocent, sweet human beings?  Many, most likely.

But in mystery writing, this sweet silence can be twisted into something else entirely.  Embrace the silence in your characters.  Fill it with something larger than dialogue: mystery.


  1. I remember that old saying, "Still waters run deep!" Very true.

  2. Michele - Oh, that's a really well-taken point and an interesting post! It can make for a fascinating mystery, too, when a character loses her or himself in another. Fascinating concept!