A few weeks ago, I wrote an article complaining about one of the reasons why the writing of the Star Wars prequels felt so uninspired. Largely I think it has to do with the eradication of a sense of wonder and mystery. Everything seems logical, but in a cold, heartless way. We're presented with  the backstory of this universe, but it isn't an exciting unveiling of this foreign galaxy--it's more of a bland history lesson. Luckily, with the newest Star Wars installation (The Force Awakens), we return to a universe that not only regains its sense of mystery, but revels in it. We can use the same strategy of keeping the mystery in our own writing.

Okay--spoilers from here on out.

Our introductions to most of the new characters are understated--not filled with exposition and explanation. We see who these people are. Consider Rey's quiet first moments on screen. She ekes out a living salvaging. She is tiny, seemingly insignificant as she rappels through the the innards of an enormous, defunct ship. We wonder--who is she? What can she possibly have to do with the cosmic overarching story? Or consider Kylo Ren. We know he's bad. We know he's a villain. But why did he turn away from the light, from his parents--two of the "most good" characters from the original trilogy? The story slowly unfolds these characters, dropping small revelations along the way. When we first meet Rey, we never anticipate her using the Force. When we first meet Kylo Ren, we don't have any idea about his connection to Han and Leia.

An important lesson to learn for our own writing, like the writing in The Force Awakens, is to allow the reader to explore our world gradually. Don't spell everything out. Don't remove all the wonder, or you'll end up with a cold, insipid story. Of course, you don't want to be vague just for its own sake. It's a difficult balance: you want to entice your readers, leaving enough room to both keep their attention as well as satisfy their curiosity.

Even before the credits rolled, I'm sure most audience members were already guessing about the direction of the next two films in the trilogy. There are several gaps in the first film (e.g., how does Maz have Luke's lightsaber? How did Kylo Ren turn to the dark side? Who is Rey, really?), but I don't see these as confusing headscratchers. Instead, they are just enticing limits of information, inviting speculation and discussion. Our own writing should do the same: intriguing our readers and making them want to know more.

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