If you want to be a writer, of one kind or another, watch and listen. There are stories out there that are screaming to be noticed and recorded. Characters walking around the streets by the thousands. By people watching you get some rich material to describe they way the look, dress, walk, talk to each other, carry things. Are the men furry faced in one way or another, bald, have interesting haircuts. The women, are they rotund, skinny to a point that they could disappear behind the local lampposts or average to challenge further description?
Places where you go, eateries, scenery, social events and time spent with friends and families, who did what and where and was there anything funny happening out of it all?
In the course (pardon the pun) of one dinner party, you can get a whole gamut of people descriptions and the way they behave to give you at least a novella’s worth of writing. Be careful though, my mother almost lost a close friend years ago when she told the woman that I was writing a book, the friend was very verbose about what I might write about her corpulent body and inclination to gossip, mind you, I did make some notes and then decided to protect my mother’s friendship. I may not be as generous these days, not even about my own flowing body bits.
How do rooms look, what kind of furnishing do they have, decor or the interesting hotch-potch of an eclectic mix which can be described in various creative ways.
Then there is the environment. Many of us who write spend great chunks of time observing nature. Australian Eucalyptus trees with their layers of sand coloured bark that entices a tactile person to peel jagged sheets of their soft pliable texture. I am blessed to live in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney where I can go and observe the constantly changing ocean and spend hours watching the waters flow backwards and forwards in varying size waves leaving white droplets hanging from their edges. Oops, I’m getting carried away. At the risk of being observed as a crazy person, you could spend an endless amount of time sky gazing, cloud formations can provide us with a lyrical pallet to write from.
Ants are very interesting, I used to swim in a neighbours’ solar heated pool which was surrounded by a wild assortment of plants tumbling towards the edge, I spent quite a lot of time observing the comings and goings of the ants rushing around in a flurry of activities, carrying bits of crumbs, leaves, extinguished insects and getting out from under the dead leaf that I sometimes placed in their path just to see how they would tackle it. I think I may have even instigated some romance there, you know, one ant rescuing another.
I am not saying to go on and on writing sagas about all these things, what I suggest is that observing these things, finding ways to describe them and pull them into a story you are writing, has the power to add a lyrical texture to the art of written storytelling.
Enough about trees, sky and ants, I think you get the picture, I’d love to hear from you about what grabs your attention and motivates you to write.
In my next blog I will give you a little exploration into Listening and Writing.