You can’t really have art without elision. I think this is true in all media and in all genres.

The well-chosen edit in a movie, the shift from verse to chorus in a song, the blackout between scenes in a play. All of these things ask us to do the work of filling in.

When we are required to provide what is missing, then we pay attention, and our imagination becomes engaged. Whether it is the gap between panels in a graphic novel, the unseen off-screen murder in a thriller, or just a brief wordless glance between two potential lovers on stage, the part of the story that is withheld from us can be the greatest tool of storytelling.

Like the old jingle says: “It’s the nothing that makes us something / It’s what we miss that hits the mark / It’s what left out that leaves us in / It’s the light shining over the dark.”

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