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Just Do It…(Writing Vivid Detail in Action)

No, this isn’t that old mantra Butt In Chair and Write (BICW) or Ass In Chair Fingers On Keyboard (AICFOK) or any other creative acronym. Aside from the fact that I don’t buy into that belief (but that is a whole other blog post) this is about writing description. Description of movement in a fresh, realistic way.

Somewhere along the writing journey, when I was trying to find a new way to write an ordinary action or something I’d written a hundred times before, I started just getting up and acting out the action.

Let’s say I wanted to describe someone tripping. Instead of writing just that or some boring version of that, I got my butt OUT of the chair and found a location similar to one I was writing (within reason…we’re not going to find a canyon to pitch over, right?) and acted it out.  No, I don’t really *fall*, I just pretended. 🙂

And I experienced a range of sensations I wouldn’t have otherwise thought to consider–the way falling feels on different parts of the body, how different things look as I fall, what unexpected thoughts might go through my mind in the process.

  • Arms flail, fingers search for something nearby to grasp but find only air. Did I think to write that in?
  • Scenery blurs in the vision or eyes squeeze shut or gaze skips around searching for some source of help.  Did I think to write that in?
  • Feet stumble at first, but quickly find traction and dig in, providing more stability than I would anticipate. Did I think to write that in?
  • What about the stumble itself?  Did something give way under foot? Did feet slide on gravel? Did the character trip on their own shoelace? Every scenario will lend itself to a unique variety of circumstances in the aftermath.
  • Depending on how severe the trip, the body recenters within a particular time frame. Maybe the trip I’ve been planning isn’t severe enough or is too severe for the next step of my story. Did I think to write that in?

A lot of these are things I may not have thought to add in if I didn’t get the first hand sensations of acting it out.  And, no, I don’t want to do this for every single action.  But when something counts, or when I want something to stand out or I want something just a little different…that’s when I use this technique.

So, next time you’re searching for a fresh way to write action, get out there and just do it.

**Disclaimer** Just do it–within reason. Don’t get crazy and hurt yourself. 🙂