>Just Do It…(Writing Vivid Detail in Action)

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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. 🙂