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elision as a tool to build suspense
In Chapter 51 of Moby-Dick, the captain of a passing whaler, The Goney, drops his speaking trumpet into the sea before he can respond to the Pequod's hail. Even Ahab's shout to the Goney as it sails away is truncated: "Tell them to address all future letters to the Pacific Ocean! and this time three years, if I am not at home, tell them to address them to——"
So, why is this encounter remarkable, when the two ships pass without interaction?
Absence is louder than presence, and not saying something is more powerful that what might have been said. The sailors keeping watch in the Goney's crow's nests do not speak to those on the Pequod either, despite how close the ships are. It's as if they are too stunned to do so. We don't learn what left the Goney's crew in this state — or the Goney itself so weirdly bleached and streaked with rust, but the ship seems like person whose hair has gone white from shock, and the dripping red streaks of rust seem more bloody than metallic.
Is there an important scene or statement that is hard to render well, perhaps so intense it may be melodramatic? Skip it, but show your reader what's been skipped. Imagine a redacted text. It's always all the juiciest information that the CIA or the FBI or Charles Lamb (when hacking away at Shakespeare) conceals. It makes you want to know, to fill in the gaps from your own imagination. So, redact. And make sure to do it a bit clumsily, so the reader knows —