Building suspense, what Facebook can teach us

We want to start this entry with a disclaimer: we are not advocating that anyone use Facebook to learn about writing. What people post on Facebook are blurbs and anyone interested in writing almost any kind of narrative has a long way to go after the headline.

But there is this – you might say post modern – thing about what many Facebook entries leave out. Take for instance these fictitious entries:

1) Really like this video. Hahahaha! Link.

2) Going down to the country. Does it get any better than this?   

3) Good friends, good times!!!!!

Do these blogs leave us with anything but questions? Why does poster #1 really like the video? What does hahahaha mean? That the video is funny or something more sinister that we may or may not get by looking at it? What does poster #2 mean by “the country” and how do we know if it gets any better or not when we don’t know where there is? Poster #3: ???????

Yet, we think the holes in these little snippets of people’s lives are what keeps us coming back for more. What is left out gets us hooked on our Facebook friends’ stories. We want to know more; what happened; what it all means.

This is what building suspense in a book is all about, omitting strategic information so that the reader is forced to read on to find out. This can be a hard task for some writers whose natural inclination is tell all. To those of you of the spill-the-guts variety, we say, get a Facebook page.