I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but I can’t find the post, so Imma write about it again.
Indirection is the art of showing something without showing it directly. Some people don’t get it, but I get a kick out of it. I’m not as good at it as Elizabeth Peters is, but I try–I try.
Here’s an example from my soon-to-be-released novel, FORCE OF HABIT, in which a couple of Stokk villains are threatening Our Hero, Bel, and her kidnapper, Connell Morgan.
First, you have to set it up.
“Ligniss is very high-strung,” said Pron. “Show them your knuckles, Ligniss.”
The apricot Stokk raised his fists. They weren’t overly large, but they seemed to be constructed of some material that could withstand the test of time.
“Notice the knuckles,” said Pron. “How sharply knobby they are. He cracks them, you see. Against parts of people’s bodies, you see.”
Then you move things into place.
“Maybe he’s hard of hearing, Ligniss. Maybe you’d better stand a little closer to him. Then, if we have to tell him again, we’ll be sure he listens.”
Ligniss sat down beside Morgan and Pron took his place in front of the door.
Then you do the pay-off.
“Excuse me,” Morgan said.
Ligniss cracked his knuckles.
Morgan rubbed the dent on the side of his head and subsided.
So there you have it: indirection. What can I say? It amuses me.
WRITING PROMPT: Write a scene in which what happens is not told but only implied by its effects.