Friday, March 25, 2011

Little Details

So I read a Twitter post by Don Maas, author of "Writing the Breakout Novel" and his prompt was to find three tiny details that your main character would notice that no one else would. It's funny how one twitter pitch can leave you thinking so deeply for days. Because really, aren't those tiny details the thing that make up the difference between going beyond and just going.

So, if I am my own main character, what are three things I tend to notice?

Jewelry. I was a jeweler for years and the first thing I look at when I met people, new or known, is what earrings, rings, necklaces they wear. If the jewelry is hand-crafted I look longer. If I like it, I make the assumption, I'll like them.

Posture. Watching how someone carries themselves informs so much of my assumptions about a person. I particularly love watching the children where I teach, how they lean into one another, whisper excitedly, twirl when they're wearing a new outfit, slouch when they're feeling down.

Hands. I guess because I'm a creator of stuff as well as words, hands are fascinating to me. I love when I meet older folks who have long flighty hands that dart like hummingbirds. My massage therapist has hands like this. Her hands tell stories. My dentist has enormous hands so I'm always fascinated at how effortlessly he works inside of people's mouths. Seriously, a dentist with hands like a bear.

So, what are your details. What are the things you notice about people, or nature, or traffic, or buildings?


  1. When it comes to people, I notice whether or not they are comfortable looking others in the eyes. I think that says a lot about a person. I also love facial expressions. My daughter has the best. She's very animated and wears every emotion clearly on her face. Hmm, one more? I'd probably have to say hand gestures. I gesture a lot, so I like to see if others do, too.

  2. Facial expressions are difficult to write I think. Good to have a live-in model though.

  3. such an interesting topic for a post. I did love that book Writing the Break Out Novel. I could read that once a month and still pick out new tips.

    Things I notice

    trees. Different kinds of trees - I'm always on the look out for Tamaracks. I just like them.

    rocks. Love the tall ones with gneiss layers especially if they are hanging over water.

    water. I've lived on it and worked on it or around it all my life. It feels like home.

  4. ohhhh! I love that. Perspective is everything when creating a unique character. hmmmm. . . I always notice a persons weight, only because I struggle with mine so much not because I think people should be a certain size other than what is healthy for them. When I notice clothing I think of the show, "What not to wear" I look at things and wonder what Stacy and Clinton" would say. I also wonder what a person's clothing choice says about them and how they are feeling inside. I'm fascinated by how clothing choice reflects how a person feels about themselves.

  5. I love Stacy and Clinton - though they would have a field day with me! My clothing choice says...lazy.


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