How observant are you? Using observation in story writing.

How observant are you?

Do you register faint changes in facial expressions? Do you notice the body language as one person passes something to another? Do you recognise the real meaning in people’s tone of voice?

These are all elements you can write into your story to make the characters, and what they do, more believable.

People watching

People watching is a great way to build up a resource to draw on.

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Descriptive Writing – Layering your imagery

Dear Photograph - click to go to websiteI wanted to follow up from my post about a website called: Dear Photograph.

The photographs on the website conjure up some brilliant imagery of layering story.

The concept behind it is simple: take an old photograph of people you know and hold it up against the original backdrop where it was taken and photograph it so that past and present blend into one photograph.

The results are very poignant.  Continue reading

Show, Don’t Tell – Descriptive Writing Using Imagery

Some time ago I stumbled across the website, Dear Photograph. It works on the simple idea of taking an old photograph of people you know and holding it up against the original backdrop where it was taken and photographing it so that past and present blend into one photograph.

Along with the images, the photographers write a very short piece about the picture they have uploaded. In a combination of words and image, a vivid story emerges that is often far more than the sum of its parts.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

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Picture Prompt – Describe this scene without using the words light or sun

Imagine you are standing among the trees. What does the air around you feel like? Is there a breeze? What can you smell? What can you hear?

How would you describe the beams of light and the shadows without using the words light or sun?

Stretch your imagination and try to find unusual, highly descriptive words.

Picture Prompt – Use sparing language

You are standing at the bottom of these stairs looking up.

Why have you come down them and what is waiting for you at the top?

Alternatively, what is behind you at the bottom?

Write about your situation without telling the reader exactly where you are or what is at the top of the stairs – or behind you. Use descriptive language to convey a picture that the reader can build up in their own mind. Make them use their imagination.

Use sparing language and make your reader feel the chill in their bones – whether it is the chill of air temperature or fear.

Remember; it is often what you cannot see that is the most vivid. Hitchcock used this to great effect. He rarely showed violence, he left you to imagine it. Think Psycho and the shower curtain scene.

Alarmed Doors

alarmed doorThe door in the photograph looked quite calm to me and not at all alarmed.

Is there another way of wording this statement? Probably. But it would probably be a wordier statement to get the same message across.

Do doors have emotions?

The long and short of it is that we know what this sign means. The door pictured here cannot experience emotion, hence it cannot feel alarmed. We, the readers, know this and so we apply the meaning that makes most sense without really thinking about it.

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