October 13, 2014

Catching the Details By T. L. Wiens

Last week, I discovered the bandages I’d bought made my lips numb when I used my mouth to remove the packaging. Over the weekend, I spent time with my husband’s family observing how people react to similar situations. It’s a habit I developed long before I ever thought about writing.

Writers need to be very observant. Life around you will provide the meat for the bones of the story. Those details will bring your story to life. I find it helpful to jot down these observations and store them in a file just in case my memory fails me. Other times I jot them down at the beginning of the manuscript where I think they’ll fit in so I have them to refer to when the time comes to use them.

We have an abundance of material all around us—make sure your watching and listening even when the keyboard is far from your fingers. Writers don’t get ever get a day off—those days away from the office need to be devoted to research.


  1. Jotting stuff like this down is a great idea... until I forget where I filed it! napkins, in a notebook, on my computer... there are lots of good ideas floating around out there that I can;t find anymore!

  2. I'm pretty good at making sure stuff gets in my file. I guess it's a habit.
    I find my phone a good place to put things. It has a good note keeping app that allows me to avoid those scrap papers and napkins.
    Having said that, I do occasionally scribble stuff down on paper and have trained my family to never throw anything away with my chicken scratch on it.

  3. Adding the jottings to the front of a manuscript where they might fit? Now that's usable information. Thanks, Tammy!

  4. So true. I need to do more "jotting." Thanks Tammy.

  5. I dedicate a notebook to these jottings, but I still end up scribbling on little notebooks I make from recycled paper. Then I gather a stack of these and scribble them or file them in the right places. I need to tighten up my system to cut out unnecessary steps. Thanks for the reminder, Tammy.


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