Monday, November 10, 2014

Writing 101: Pay Attention to Be a Better Writer

How carefully do you watch other people? How often do you try to figure out why they said something, or did something, that you didn't understand right away? I'm not talking about obsessive behavior. I'm talking about observation, the power of paying attention. And if you want to be a better writer, you should start doing it. 

My Eyes on You

If you want to be a better writer, I have some easy advice: pay attention. Observe the people and the world around you, and then take that one step further. Don't just be a better writer. Become a great one. 

Start by paying attention. Notice people. How they move, how they laugh, the things they say. Don't be a creep about it. You shouldn't just stare at people. But look at them, and really take in the details. That's how you start observing and noticing things about people, their habits and their hopes and their fears. Now go beyond it.

Try to figure out why. Why are they afraid? Why do they laugh? Why are they doing that, saying this, or acting a certain way? Most of the time, you won't know the real answer. But if you can come up with reasons that make sense to you, if you can start learning how to understand what moves and motivates other people, you're building up your skills as a writer. You're taking yourself closer to writing believable characters. Every character in your book can't be you. Some of it has to come from other people.

So start paying attention to other people. Really see the world around you. The more you see, the better your writing will become. 

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