Let people fill in the gaps

I’m working on an article that has an analogy that my editor pointed out had a “gap” in it, in his mind. The analogy involves TSA screening, I discuss bins that we place our belongings in and the belongings flow through screening, and perhaps are flagged for extra screening. After which items might be removed that aren’t permitted.

What I was relating this too, also involved adding items to a bin, which isn’t what TSA does. My editor flagged this as invalidating my analogy.

Quite the opposite, the fact that he noticed this means that the analogy was working. To discern a gap between an analogy and reality proves the analogy works.

One might think a remedy would be to explain this gap. But if we explain every gap in an analogy, we’ll lose readers. Analogies aren’t meant to be precise. They’re meant to educate.

If you encounter a gap in an analogy, be happy that you have left something of educational value for readers to discern. It’s in discernment that learning occurs.