When is a Hole Not a Hole?

Posted 27th October 2010 by Anstice in Creative Writing / 🗨0 Comments

I’ve decided that the story is not just about the literal dark, underground bunker they are living in, but other kinds of holes. I started to do a mind map of all the different meanings and association of the word ‘hole’, and here’s what I came up with:

  • Falling down the rabbit hole-curiosity leading one to investigate something and finding oneself in an unfamiliar situation. This is very fitting as I already imagined my heroine, Isla, to be a lot like Alice in Wonderland.
  • Being a square peg in a round hole-some of my characters are misfits, they don’t seem to belong anywhere.
  • Bullet holes or wounds-some of my characters may aquire these!
  • Emptiness, voids, negative space-most of my characters have something missing in their life- an empty space inside them that needs to be filled. That’s why they signed up. For Millie the empty space is excitement and the freedom to live her own dreams. Michael’s ex wife left a big hole in his life when she left, and now debts are burning a hole in his pocket. Harvey’s weight issues could be partly psychological-perhaps he comfort eats because he feels empty inside, but no amount of food will fill the hole. What Dr. Frost is missing is some humanity-work has turned her into a cold and uncaring person. The hole in Isla’s life is the massive void created by her parents’ deaths. Lei creates holes in other people’s life through her negative behaviour, but deep down she is lonely too.
  • Hole between the ears-Candy is clearly missing some brain cells. She lacks imagination and common sense.
  • Sieves-As they are full of holes they are permeable, not water tight. Similarly some of my characters don’t stand up to pressure well, and they can’t hold onto things. For example, the good things in Michael’s life are slipping through his fingers like water.
  • Burial holes-my characters come from all walks of life-different races, religions, classes etc. But in the end they are all the same. They are all mortal, and one day they will all end up in a hole six foot deep. This will be sooner for some than for others. In fact some might not make it to 10,000 words.
  • Digging a hole for yourself-some of my characters are really good at this. Isla just gets herself into deep trouble all the time from being too curious for her own good. Michael and Millie digs themselves into holes by letting people walk all over them.
  • An opportunity to be filled-on a more positive note, some of my characters can fill their holes, or fill the hole of others.
  • Holes in a story-if a story has holes it is unreliable, not everything is explained. This is appropriate to my novel in two ways: a) My narrators are not always telling the whole (or hole?) truth-there will be gaps in their accounts that lead the reader to suspect they are perhaps not being entirely truthfull, or that there are gaps/holes in their memory. b) As the author I will leave some holes in the plot..it is up to the reader to fill them.
  • Gaps- the novel will also show the gaps between people, and the reasons behind them. Will the gaps between my characters grow smaller or wider during their captivity?
  • Being ‘whole’-some of my characters have things missing, they are not complete either physically or mentally and long to be whole again or at last. My ex military man (still nameless, poor chap), is missing his real legs so is not altogether hole in the physical sense. Something in Isla broke the day her parents died, Michael is not whole without the love of his life, Millie’s troubled past has tainted her and left her used, not whole and pure as she was expected to be.
  • Exploration-when I think of holes I also think of secret, hidden places like caves and mining for treasures. It makes me think of quests, danger, excitement and discovery and I hope my characters’ journeys will be like this.
  • Assholes-there are some of these in my novel too!

So, from my research and random musings I have discovered there are a lot of different meanings and associations to the word ‘hole’, which is why I need to expand my title to take account of them somehow.

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