Benefits of Observation


Inspiration and description go hand in hand. If you are writing a mystery novel and you say something like “She stood next to the building waiting for the bus at midnight.” You get an image in your mind that gives you a few details. If on the other hand you say something like “As it neared midnight she found herself waiting for a bus next to an empty shell of a building. Shadows seemed to dance in eerie shapes created by the dim street lamp half-way down the block.” It changes the whole scene. You can probably write that scene in many ways.

So where do you get the images for your stories? As I mentioned in earlier posts, I keep a file of interesting things I see and photos if I can. I make notes when I see something unusual. Inspiration can happen anywhere. For instance the other day I went through a fair sized city an hour or two from home. There was a lot of traffic and each intersection took about two turns of the light to get through. As I was sitting there I noticed an unusual building. It had a corner stone of 1920 something but instead of traditional windows they had installed diamond shaped windows, lined with pretty stained glass. The exterior walls were of brick and the front of the building had a deeply recessed heavy wooden door. I tried to imagine all the things that building might have been used for. I will remember facade for some future story detail.

Today the Saturday markets were going strong. It was kind of fun to observe the various ways people shop. Some folks smell the produce, others squeeze the fruits or vegetables. In the arts and craft area people will pick up an item in a vendors stall and look at the details, while others just give everything a quick glance. Your observations can become mannerisms for your characters in your stories. Inspiration and illustration surround us every day if we are looking.

How ever you look at your world I pray you’ll find joy and creativity there.


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