Gaps in Story (Not Thighs)

In last weeks post, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”, I was expecting the man to complement my family since that’s what people normally do when they stop me. When he insulted us instead by asking if we could afford our children, a rift was torn between what I expected and what happened. In writing, this is called a gap.

As important as gaps are in fiction, I’ll be honest, in reality they often suck. Gaps are those moments in life when you’re walking along your merry way expecting all the usual things that occur to do so, only something unexpected slaps you in the face instead, like in my pizza guy example. Another instance took place today. I spent most of my morning writing a blog post for tonight when my computer battery died. I plugged it in, booted it up expecting to continue on with what I was writing, only to find it wasn’t saved (ironic, no?). So, there lies a gap. A rift torn between my expectations and desired results. But without these gaps in reality, what would we learn from life? You have to figure out a way to bridge the gap or give up (can you guess which route I took)? Without gaps we’d have no stories to tell.

“STORY is born in that place where the subjective and objective realms touch”. (gaps) -Robert McKee, Story


I’ll say this again, without gaps there is no story. Nothing would challenge the characters (or readers) to grow, learn, fight, give up, take action, make conflict, find truth, risk it all, and hopefully reach their goal. You would have characters that are invincible, reaching their goals without trial, in books filled with empty words. We need these gaps in life and in fiction to tear our expectations apart no matter how painful. Thus creating challenges to learn from, pushing us forward, bringing light to change, and writing stories that speak to the heart of humanity.