You know, it's funny how you think you know something and then someone puts it to you in a whole new light and BANG! you realize you didn't know nothing at all.
I thought I knew some of the secrets of good writing. I thought I was a competent editor. I thought I could take any story in my inbox and give a concrete reason why it works or not.
I thought wrong.
I put my finger on something recently. Good stories let the readers fill in most of the blanks.
Wow. Sounds easy huh? Yeah, well, think about it. While you do, I'll provide an analogy that, after your thinking, might confuse you even more.
Empty houses don't sell well. It's a known fact. That's why there are furnished model homes. Most folks can't visualize worth a damn, so they need some help.
The bed goes here. See, how pretty a picture looks here...
However, houses which are too cluttered, too stacked with the homeowners' junk don't sell well, either. They can't mentally remove the junk and put themselves and their stuff in that space. They see so much stuff, even in a big room, and think: Gaaa! There's no room for my stuff in here! The eye will fill in gaps; it does not like to create them.
So it is with writing. Too much information leaves no blanks for readers to fill in their own experiences, their own stuff. Too few, too spare on the details, and readers just wander through the story, feeling lost and echoey. Where does the balance lie? It's likely different for everybody. But the stories in our hold for voting box do tend to leave room for readers to actively participate in the telling of it by inserting their own perspective.