Monday, February 29, 2016

An observing exercise

     How good an observer are you?  The skill is critical if you want to be a competent writer.  It can be learned.

     So here’s a quick exercise.

     First, watch this video of two old grain silos being imploded recently in my home town to make way for a development.

     Now watch the video again, pausing it frequently.  At each pause, scrutinize precisely what’s happening.  Where were the charges placed?  How did the silos fall; did they hesitate at any point?  How did the top structures collapse?  Can you spot the point where one of the silos cracked apart as it was falling?  How close were any buildings?  Did you notice the black skirting around the base of the structure?  What was that for?  How long did the demolition take?  How large was the dust cloud and how high did it rise?  What did it sound like?  Take notes.

     Write a brief scene describing exactly how these structures suffered a mortal series of blows and came down.  Don’t use any clichés.  Use only your own fresh descriptions.  Had you been near the scene, you could also describe the smells and the observers’ exclamations.  (I witnessed the demolition from about the same angle as shown in the third video view.  It was impressive.)

     And that’s how you can add believable realism to your writing.

     Start really observing your surroundings wherever you go—seeing in depth and detail, hearing everything, smelling, feeling, touching, filing it all away in your miraculous memory bank.  Make this a constant habit and I guarantee it will help your writing immensely.


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