Saturday, 30 January 2010

Elevate Awareness to Elevate Description Skills

T.ake Notes
E.xplore Possibilities

The picture is by: Escher (one of my favorites)

If you take notice of your surroundings, you will become a better writer. This sounds obvious. SO how do we go about doing this?

Use the 7 principles listed above:

  1. E.yeball - Open your eyes, we may see a setting hundreds of times but now, try and find three things in those settings you've not noticed before. Touch. Taste. Listen. Tone your awareness muscles by exercising them.
  2. L.isten - Be a better listener. You may be sitting in a quiet room but is it really? Listen for even the smallest noise. Is your computer fan running? Tap dripping? Dog breathing? Clock ticking? If you're in a loud room, try to distinguish sounds. Loud music - what instruments are playing? Tune in to specific voices and conversations.
  3. E.mbellish - Turn your mundane surroundings into prize-winning novels. Don't accept what happens around us as random and unmotivated. For instance, if you encounter a noise or occurrence that is not easily explained, don't dismiss it, try to find an explanation or create one. Noise in the attic? Perhaps a homeless person in the neighborhood has made the attic his home.
  4. V.isualize - Shut your eyes to see better. How cold is the air? How hard is the ground? What places on your body aches or itches? Try to locate them.
  5. A.bsorb - Look for shapes and patterns in everything. What do the clouds look like? Patterns in he stars, do you see them? Patterns in houses and pages and fields. Deviate from your routine for five minutes. Walk to the store instead of drive. Read a book in the rain. Eat breakfast for dinner.
  6. T.ake Notes - Write these ideas down.
  7. E.xplore Possibilities - Make the above actions a habit. Try it for three weeks. 
1) When watching television, look everywhere on the screen except where the director wants you to look. What do you notice? Do you notice furniture in the backgrounds? What books do they read? What time is it on their clock? How do commercials get you to focus on the products?
2) Keep an awareness journal for a week. Write your observations down.
3) Practice looking. How many tulips did you count this month? Roses? Red colored cars?
4) Make it your goal to be creative all day long.

Taken from the book: Fiction Writer's Brainstormer
Source: Brainstormer


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great post, Ann! I've tweeted it.


Ann Elle Altman said...

Thanks, Elizabeth.


Koreen said...

I love these ideas, especially the little exercise about watching TV and looking at the rest of the picture. In college, I started out as an art major, so I'm always picking apart visual art like that.

Ann Elle Altman said...

Yeah, we tend to focus where the director wants us to focus...but that's the sign of a good director.


Anonymous said...

Practice looking - excellent advice.


from the desk of a writer