Monday, March 02, 2009

Are you listening? Do you see?

This morning when I opened my back door to let my dog out I was greeted with happy, carefree birdsong. It was beautiful.

As a writer, I try to be as observant as possible about the ordinary things in life because that’s what bonds us most as people. We all can experience the joy of listening to beautiful birdsong, we all can appreciate the nodding wildflowers alongside the road, we can all inhale the sweet fragrance of freshly cut grass (and if you’re not allergic, enjoy the aroma).

I was thrilled a few weeks ago when another writer said I was the Queen of show don’t tell. BTW, show don’t tell is big in writing. It draws the readers into your world through their senses.

So? Are you listening? Do you see? Can you get a whiff of that fragrant grass?

I love to scrutinize what I see, hear, smell. In January I stayed at a luxury hotel for a weekend. In the foyer was a large table with a huge floral arrangement, all done in different types of white flowers. It was lovely, and actually looked so perfect it appeared to be silk flowers. But it wasn’t. I walked over and touched the velvet soft petals and inhaled the mix of floral fragrances. It was a wonderful sensory moment.

Who knows, perhaps some day in my writing I’ll be able to use that moment when I paused to appreciate the work someone put into arranging those lovely flowers.

And that, my friend, is one way to connect with your readers: reference common experiences in your writing. Use the ordinary in life as your word palette.

In other news, I apparently didn’t dry Bayle well enough after her bath on Saturday.


Sharon Ball said...

It's amazing how little touches like you mentioned with the floral arrangement brings so much richness to description and show don't tell. Your post is very insightful. Also, your dog is so adorable. Mine does the same thing and it cracks me up.

tonya said...

Thanks for sharing your knowledge. :)

Being able to show and not tell is hard for me. Your post helped me think about how I need to change my writing.

CandaceCalvert said...

Amen on the Show Don't Tell, and thank you for the delightful Bayle moment. I could almost . . . smell the scent of doggy shampoo! ;-)

Ruthie said...

No wonder you are such a good writer - you are able to get us to feel what you feel when you see flowers etc.

Jan Parrish said...

Looks like Bayle may have gotten water in her ears. Notice how she is rubbing up against the cushion with her ears?

Great reminder to stop and smell the rose. Relish and savor life. It will improve both your writing and your life.