By virtue of the topic, this post should be short.
Get it? Go to another blog.
Don't get it? Keep reading.
Negative space is the area in a painting with no paint. Not entirely true, it might have white paint or black paint or khaki-rose paint, but there's no clutter and it surrounds the main subject. In writing, it's the larger implication left by a small statement. For instance, a line from a recent story (one of mine; bad form, I know):
"I picked up the arrow and showed him. It had sliced through the guyÂs head without breaking because it had a titanium broadhead and a carbon shaft-Âthe kind rich people used for deer hunting back when there were deer."
I don't go into a long diatribe how it's X years in the future and how the Right eliminated all "unnecessary" laws like hunting tags and then the economy failed and the people hunted deer into extinction, as fascinating as all that might be to explore. I don't even go into (much) about why they are using old arrows. But the reader can glean from the fact that there are no deer it is probably future/parallel universe, and that the character is used to the fact that there are no deer. Maybe he evedoesn't't recall deer? (Fuck if I know--I'm just the author of the piece.) The reader figures the character isn't grossed out, because he picks up the arrow that just killed a guy, so he's either used to it or a psychopath, or maybe a little of both. One can even assume he's a man (a boy, really) of few spoken words, because he doesn't say anything.
And so on.
But I've already cluttered the negative space of this post all to hell.
To wrap up, negative space is:
the sound of a humidifier
an elevator with no music
not telling your husband he did X wrong
love you feel during sex (or vice versa)
hair on the floor after a haircut
the space where your Christmas tree was
stuff you don't buy at Target
and so on.
Anyway, that's what's on my mind today. Lots of negative space.
Must be the prescriptive cold medication.