NOTICING

Story image
11 May

NOTICING

A lot of the time we talk about writing, we describe the inner world, the magical, multi-sensory universe of your story you can only experience in your mind. Imagining your story as vividly as possible is one of the most important tools in becoming a great writer. However, the other, equally important habit all writers must develop is the ability to notice the real world around them. Be nosy. Watch what’s going on. Pay attention to the details of the people, places, and things around you. Listen to stranger’s conversations (if you’re taking this workshop, then you probably have this habit already.) When we talk about “great details” in a story, those details are usually great because they are so real. Usually, the writer noticed something in real life and then added it to a fictional world. As Kate DiCamillo said, “Writing is seeing. It is paying attention.” Remember, also, that your inner “noticing” thoughts are more honest, more direct than the way you speak in public. You see people and you have opinions, you make judgements. Yesterday, for instance, one student noticed a woman with “ashy ankles.” It would be cruel to say that out loud to a person, but it would be a fantastic detail to add to a description of a character. So let your protagonist’s thoughts be just as real, as honest, as yours, even if that’s not as “nice.” It’s human. In short — your assignment this week is to continue your story but pepper your next scene with observations/noticings/overheard details from the real world.

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