Webster’s II New College Dictionary defines ‘Ellipsis’ as:
a) the omission of a word or phrase required for a complete syntactical construction but not necessarily for understanding.
b) a mark or series of marks [eg. …or ***] used in writing or printing for indicating an omission, esp. of letters or words.
In their book Self-Editing for Writers, Renni Browne and Dave King discuss a syndrome I have. Namely, feeling the need to describe every move a character makes. Every step she takes.
‘The phone rang. Geraldine walked across the room and picked it up. “Hello,” she said.’
Browne and King suggest editing this to: The phone rang. “Hello,” said Geraldine. Why? Because the reader knows we (used to) have to walk to a phone to answer it.
“When you fill in all the details and leave nothing to your readers’ imaginations, you’re patronizing them. It’s the influence of movies and television again—readers are used to jump-cuts from scene to scene rather than long traditional shots.”
I'm editing my WIP with this, and many other, craft caveats. So many swirling in my head. But step-by-step descriptions of mundane actions have become boring to read, and tedious to write. I'm happy to let ellipses do some of my work.