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The Weird Writing Rule Nobody Teaches You

The Weird Writing Rule Nobody Teaches You

The path to becoming a competent writer has been paved with countless lessons: grammar, structure, word placement. But embedded in these principles is an obscure truth, the secret weapon wielded by the masters of the design – the power to disconnect.

Disconnecting from the core shows a deliberate mismatch between what your characters say and what they actually mean. It’s the unspoken tension hovering over the surface of the conversation, the hidden truth shrouded behind a polished façade. These subtle inconsistencies breathe life into your characters, transforming them from primitive, one-dimensional caricatures into complex individuals filled with unspeakable desires and anxieties.

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Consider the sharp transitions in Aaron Sorkin’s writing. 

The characters make hilarious jokes, and their stories are infused with underlying structures. The seemingly innocent conversation between President Bartlett and his staff in "The West Wing" is often a masterclass in disconnecting. A jagged prick masquerading as a compliment, a seemingly casual question masking a wild plea – these details weave unspoken emotions, keeping the audience free always enter it.

The power of disconnection extends beyond conversation.

It can be woven into a narrative commentary, where the setting itself becomes a character, and implies unspoken truths. Imagine a spacious room, whose grandeur contrasts with the isolation that fills its walls. Or a crowded market, and a simmering mess that masks desperation in the eyes of the sellers. Through subtle contrasts between appearance and reality, you invite the reader to go deeper, to be detectives telling a story that is not put together.

Consider Ernest Hemingway's ice theory

The visible face of the iceberg represents the surface narrative, the surface events. But the real power lies in the devouring material, in the vast reservoir of backstory, emotions and untold truths that give the story weight and depth. Disconnecting allows you to carve out this immersive element, giving the reader clues to what is hidden beneath the surface.

So, how do you harness the power of the disconnect in your own writing? 

Here are a few techniques:

Subtext King: Make your characters actions speak louder than words. A forced smile, a clenched fist, a lingering gaze – these nonverbal cues can reveal a world of unspoken emotions.

Ambiguous description: Use descriptive language that conveys deeper meaning. A fancy party described as "soulless" or a forced conversation portrayed as "full of awkward silences" can lead to powerful communication breakdowns.

Internal monologue vs. dialogue: Distinguish between what the character is thinking and saying. Interior monologues can be a gold mine for revealing hidden connections.

Remember, disconnects are most powerful when they’re subtle. Heavy hands can turn from subtle to incredibly melodic. Keep your readers guessing, so they can be an active participant in the mystery at the bottom of the page.

Here is an example to illustrate the power of networking:

"Welcome to promoting" he said, a tight smile plastered on his face. But there was something else in his eyes, a hint of jealousy or perhaps disappointment. An air of unspoken words hanging loudly, long hours and silent acknowledgment of the sacrifices made for this moment.

In this passage, the characters forced smile and subtle changes in his eyes create a disconnect between his words and his actual feelings making the reader wonder about the underlying emotions he would become an active participant in their cause.

By acknowledging past connections, you elevate your writing from mere storytelling to an engaging examination of the human condition. You need to allow your characters to breathe and become real people full of complexity and contradictions. So, the next time you sit down to write remember the power of the unspoken, unspoken truth that is grateful. It’s a powerful tool waiting to be used, a secret weapon that can change your writing from good to great.

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