A Second of Detail

What is this writing lark about, in essence?

I suppose reflecting the world we see is one passable answer - the people in it, the places, the stories we hear, read and imagine.

What's he going on about now, do I sense you asking? (which would be understandable). The answer is that I've been thinking how just one little second of an observation can be so powerful in capturing a part of life.

I was about my day job in a lovely Devon market town this week, when an older chap came up to cameraman and me and asked what we were doing.

We had a little chat, but what struck me was his way of enquiring. He was careful not to use the standard abuses of the fair English language, like "Alright", or "Hey, mate", or 'Yo", or anything such.

He said, 'Good morning, and excuse me for asking...'

Which immediately he had gone, left me reaching for my notebook (remember a recurring theme of these blogs - a writer should never be without notebook, ideas and inspiration are all around and everywhere and losing an idea is a terrible sin.)

And just to prove that point - this is me being caught jotting down an idea at a beer festival. Anything which can distract me from beer must be important!


Simon beer fest writing blog.jpg

Anyway, back to the thrust of this musing, and I liked the idea of a character who was distinguished by that trait - not slipping into slang, but always being careful to use polite and well considered English. I could sense how it would help to lift a person from the paper and bring them to life.

It's a classic show not tell trick - hearing someone talk like that immediately suggests a great deal about their personality, and perhaps their background, too.

All that in just a second of detail. 

Ah, the power of words, particularly a few well chosen ones - another of the great privileges of this writing life.