O … is for Observation

O[1] is for observation. If you think back to ‘I’, I wrote about imagery, and there is a strong connection to observation.

What is observation?

We see real scenes in life every day, but seeing those scenes isn’t detailed observation. It is casual observation; a glance, for example.

I believe that true, detailed, observation as a writer is deeper. It is this detail that we must employ in our writing; in our imagery. Now I suppose you’d like an example … well, okay then.

Let’s take a strategic military operation; the observation post, or OP as it’s called, manned by two soldiers.

Why is it called an Observation Post?

It evolves from the fact that the people involved are not just ‘watching casually’, or if you like ‘seeing’ the scene ahead of them. They are observing the scene. To truly observe something – not just ‘see’ it, we must stare, concentrate, and examine it. Let’s continue with the men in the OP.

Example 1. The two men could send a message that they saw; a few tanks and a couple of helicopters, with a whole load of troops standing in nearby woodland. It’s a vague report, but it’s what they saw.

Example 2. The same two men could watch closely, or observe, and then report; six main battle tanks, one light reconnaissance tank , two personnel-carrying helicopters and four attack helicopters, plus a full infantry battalion, battle-ready, in the woods.

Where does this come into writing, and imagery?

Let’s apply a similar strategy to a brief scene. You’re having a coffee and watching the world go by, making notes in your notebook, thinking of your latest story. Right before you, a scene opens up and you want to record it for later. One of the following is written by somebody who simply looks at things, but the other is written by somebody who ‘observes’ closely.

Example 1. Two men crossed the road to the car and jumped in. The vehicle drove off immediately.

Example 2. It was noon, when the two men ran to the red pick-up. Smoke was drifting from the exhaust. When the ski-masks were removed, I noticed one man was dark-haired and bearded, while the other was bald. The vehicle raced out of town towards the east.

Okay, it’s not too exciting, but imagine if it was in a story. Which of those two styles would create interest for you as a reader?

If any one of you suggests Example 1 in either of those two cases above – go back to ‘A’ and start reading again. LOL

Thank you once again for putting up with my way of looking at things. I’ll see you on my blog patrol again later, and then I’ll be going for a ‘P’ … for my next post of course.






Spinning Plates …

Look ... no hands ...

My drawing for this post is a nude study I completed in March 1985.  I remember it took about three hours.  I still consider it to be one of my best of that time.  This is one of very few ladies drawn naked because I prefer to draw them partially clothed. 

Decided I had to check in here with an update.  I now have three short stories on the go and an appropriate piece for the monthly magazine Scottish Memories.  I’ve completed the writing but I want to edit once more before it goes to the magazine.  I’m considering a sidebar menu for features and articles.  It would make sense since I’m getting back into my studies with my Creative Writing course. 

Over this last week I’ve been enjoying my favourite writer’s latest tale, THOSE IN PERIL by Wilbur Smith. It has all the usual WS ingredients like adventure, larger than life characters, death and heroics.  I’m savouring this one because it will doubtless be a while before his next. 

On the Starlite Cafe site I read a poem about a lad being taken to a brothel by his father as a treat and an introduction to sex.  The comments I noticed didn’t seem to be concerned with the poetic tale itself but with the subject matter … prostitution. 

The comments rather than the poem got me thinking that there was a need for a wider explanation of the topic.  Not that I’m an expert, but I’ve written a piece which in the next two days should be ready to post.  All I ask of readers is that they remember it is personal observation, not banner waving support of the industry. 

Hopefully now everybody who reads this will be waiting impatiently for my poem about prostitution.  I’ll post a link for it on Facebook and I’d like to think it will be read with an open mind.