Writing from observation

26 Feb

I think I may have mentioned in a previous post, about how much you can gain for your writing by simple observation. By observation, I mean using ALL of your senses. Pay attention not only to the sights around you, but the smells, the sounds, how you feel, etc.

I’m about to use this post as a small plug for my own writing. I will preface it by saying that this excerpt from my writing is still in what I call the “skeleton draft” stage, meaning that I’ve gotten some of my story on paper. Period. No editing, no grammatical checking, no nothing but spitting it out:

As I sat on the train ride to work, I had what could only be described as an ominous feeling. There were no out of the ordinary occurrences. From my seat, I glanced around at the passengers who were packed into the train like a can of sardines. The loud, shrill hum of the train engine reverberated off of the tunnel walls, emitting a mixture of sounds. I’d always related it to sounding like a mix of a tornado and a jet engine. Most people on the train were giving their best attempts at acting oblivious to the other passengers as they toyed around on their smart phones, read books or listened to the music playing from their ear buds or headphones. The sounds of Tejano music played softly from the passenger seated next to me, yet loud enough for those in close proximity to hear. The sound of gum popped from the mouth of the woman seated directly across to me, who did her best to avoid any form of eye contact. Laugher emanated from somewhere close behind me as feet shuffled and bags were zipped in preparation for the train’s next imminent stop.

For some reason as I looked around, my mind kept wandering back to a movie I had watched in where the main character is able to witness his death, along with the death of his friends in a horrific plane crash, before it happens. He witnesses the accident as he dozes off only to wake up as he and his friends are being called to board the plane. He is able to prevent his friends from boarding the plane (which ends up crashing shortly after takeoff just like in his dream), but due to the fact that the characters did not die when they were supposed to have died, Death comes for each of them, one at a time and in the most gruesome of ways.

Similar to the movie, I half expected to witness the train crashing off of an overpass, witnessing bodies fly from all directions as a giant fireball consumed us all only seconds before we all died, only to wake up and realize I was still sitting at the train station. Needless to say I was very relieved when we uneventfully pulled into my stop. I’ve never been psychic at all, so I must admit the feeling was somewhat unsettling.

I’m not using my own writing to sell my book. For one it would be waaaay premature! Okay anyhow, I did want to post this to show you how writing by observation has helped me and I think it could help you too. It also helps if you are at a loss on what to write next. Pack up your laptop or just a plain ol’ pad of paper and a pen. You’ll be surprised at what might happen!

Write my friends. Write! (Evin –

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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Uncategorized


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