Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Workshop -- The Power of Observation

Once again, I'm late posting. No good reason this time. Halfway through the day today someone said something about it being Wednesday and my first thought was, "Oh, no! I missed NCIS!" My second thought was, "Drat! I forgot to post a new workshop." Yeah, I suppose that says something sad about priorities...(sigh).

Here you go...have fun with this one. It's one I do at least once a year just for the heck of it. :)

The Power of Observation

Becoming a writer requires you to be student of humanity. You listen to the way people talk, you watch how they move and the gestures they make -- and then you capture that in words so others can see what you saw.

How well do you notice the world around you? What do you see that others don't? 


Pick a place to do your observation and fill out the sheet below. Malls work great. So do fast-food restaurants.

There's a worksheet I use for this activity, but you're going to have to create it yourself since I can't  attach a file to the blog. You can do this in your word processor, spreadsheet or on a sheet of lined paper --whatever works best for you.

Make a table three columns wide and ten spaces long. Leave LOTS of room to write. Take your worksheet with you or save it to your laptop and fill it in as you observe people in your place of choice. In the first column (label it "Observation"), just write a general comment about what you see. Use the second column ("Impression") to record an overall feeling about the event or scene. In the third column ("Details"), list the specifics of what you’re watching.

Feel free to use your writing journal instead of a separate worksheet. Choose someplace very populated. Aim for five to ten different observations in one location.


Take one of the observations you made and use it as the seed for a new story. Who do you suppose those people were? What were they like? How did the setting affect what they did or said? What kind of lexicon would be appropriate for them? Have fun and spin a detailed story using your brief encounter as the starting place.

Like these workshops? Feel free to leave a tip in the tip jar. Once all the workshops are posted (there are a lot of them), I'll gather them in a single file for sale. If you regularly leave a tip, however, you'll get a free copy! 

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