Writers are observers. We need to observe life in all its grand scope and small detail—places, things, people, events, words, emotions.
A couple of weeks ago, I moved from one state to another one—literally across the country. Since everything about my new home is new, I’m in major observation mode right now. There are so many details that may or may not ever make it into a story. But whether a certain detail actually makes it into a book or not isn’t really the point. Every detail observed and pondered is another wrinkle on the brain, another thought or sound or smell added to the richness of experience.
Details like the dirt road I drive on every day that leads up to the house where I’m staying. I’m learning the spots along the road where the rain has eroded the dirt into a washboard surface, and the spot that looks smooth but the dirt makes the car fishtail ever so slightly whether the road is wet or dry.
Details like the lichen that grows in abundance on the trees. So many different kinds and colors:
The earth is rocky here in the mountains, and people have built little inukshuk-style road markers along the paths in the woods:
It’s almost May but spring is just starting here. Tiny flowers are the first ones to break through the wet earth:
3 thoughts on “Writing Is…Seeing the Details”
If you ever asked me what I think it makes the difference between a good story and an avarege one, I’ll tell you: details and the way they are used.
Details is what brings you in another world, what makes you feel that particular felling, what moves because of that particular memory it stirs. Sometimes I have this feeling that unexperienced writer don’t really take into account the importance of details, because they are… well, just details, not the grand structure of the story.
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You’re absolutely right. Details can take an okay story and turn it into something vivid and real. It’s true that many writers get so focused on plot or character development that they neglect the details.
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