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by Hilary

decomposing cucumber pod by Hilary

‘I tell my wife, I don’t care about the details, I just want to show up,’ he says from the front of the class.

The students laugh, even those that understand the statement in relation to the review we are completing in preparation for the test new week. They’ll have to do more than show up to pass.

The hand on the clock falls again in the hollow space between statements. Twenty three minutes left. On his shoulder a smudge of grey white chalk. Papers rustle, a pencil claps on the desk top.

Clearing his throat, my co-teacher starts again.

Oil in a pan by Hilary

Oil in a pan by Hilary

Perhaps you have heard the phrase, ‘the devil is in the details’ in relation to taking care of the little things so they dont become big issues. There is also life in the details when it comes to writing.

Last week, Fred focused us on using first person voice and in the comments I suggested a book titled Make  a Scene and how I felt it had helped me in learning to write in such a way as to engage my audience. A few other things I have gleaned in learning write and honing my craft are to use action verbs & write in present tense. This allows the audience to experience the moment and not just read about what happened.

What I want to focus on today though is detail, particularly descriptive detail. Detail allows you to build a scene and also set the mood fo what is happening. When we can let the reader smell, see and taste the moment—they can then live in that moment. Detail allows you to build a character. We can see them when the details are given vividly and in creative ways.

In my poem for Victoria’s prompt this week, I wrote of a boy from school and described his splayed hands as ‘fingers raygunned.’ Pairing the familiar and the unusual causes the reader to see things in new ways.

When I am building a scene, I try to focus not just on what you would usually find in a scene, but what is unusual. What is out of place. What are peripheral people in the scene doing. Today I want you to focus on detail in your poem. Make a person, a place, a scene come alive to us today. Touch all the senses. Hyperdetail and write in technicolor 3D HD…smiles. Put me in that moment.

I have included a few pictures by a friend, Hilary, who is a photographer as well. These are macro shots, really zoomed in where you may not be able to tell the whole. Feel free to pick one of them to write about.

Or maybe you want to even write about a time you did or did not focus on the details and how that worked out for you. Lots of choice there.

If you are new here:

  • Write a poem to one of the themes for the day and post it to your webpage.
  • Click on the Mr. Linky below and enter the direct URL to your webpage as well as your name.
  • This is also where you will find others who have taken up the challenge. Read them. Tell them what you liked, how the poem moved you, something they did good. Interact. Learn. Grow.
  • Tweet. Facebook. Whatever your social media. Invite others to have fun too. Retweet.
  • Have fun with it. We are all figuring this thing out and none of us are perfect, so try, fail, succeed—whatever, have fun.

See you out on the trail. ~Brian