Observable by Silence


Yes, I’ve never done that before, but time moves in like a high tide and even I have to adapt or get pulled out with the undertow.

No, that doesn’t make sense.

What does?

Writers are observers. They do this by keeping the mouth shut and all other senses open. A friend read a short story and asked how it managed to create a whole picture in her head – when nothing was actually described. I pointed out one or two things, and she did the mouth-open thing – with no words. She didn’t see the description, she felt it.

That’s what makes a story good (or gooderer – a new word I decided needed to be created). Not just what the characters sees, but everything around them. Everything. The whispering breeze or the howling cut of wind, the crash of waves or the purr of surf on reef, the aroma of baked bread or the stink of a latrine alley.

There are more senses, and people respond to senses more than they do to ‘visions’. Smell, in particular, will bring the whole world of the words to life – it’s the sense that lingers forever. The smell of babies and how it affects the hormone levels in adults; the smell of rain on a dry paddock; the welcoming stink of the pub as the main door swings open; the stink of traffic that gives you a headache, even when there’s no noise.

A writer is an observer of all things. In order to do that, they need to sit, silent and invisible and watch, and listen, and sniff and ‘feel’ all of it.

Once, and I’m not going to say who so don’t ask, I caught someone out in a big lie. No one else noticed, but I did.

It was the eyes, the sudden flash of widening just as quickly stopped, the little wavers in the pupil as they swung from each of the audience. No one else noticed, but I did, and she knew I did.

The reaction was to sidle up and make light of things, go round-about to soften the blow of the confession or the bigger lie (it was the latter). I knew it would be the latter because the hair on her arms wasn’t flat, a sheen of sweat covered the back of her neck, the tension in her neck wobbled the cartilage of her throat. Throat wobbles indicate the struggle to get words out. She struggled.

Observing more than the visuals gives a story a much deeper connection to the reader.

Wanna try it?

The words flow (image from Pixabay)

19 thoughts on “Observable by Silence

  1. Gooderer, is a really good word. I like it. Always like playing with words. Using them.
    Also. How true your statement here. What would we writers do, without our ability to observe AND how to show instead of just tell when we write.
    And Thank you for being my Buddy! 👍😁

    Liked by 1 person

      • “Oh Yeah! Tell me all about it!” she laughed and actually meant she already knew all about it. The path, so easily lost…

        I really could benefit from a good circle of writing friends here, in real physical life. Not as easily found as I thought it would be. Lucky I have the Internet…
        😀 😀 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Me, too – no one in my immediate circle is a writer, nor the next circle, nor the next. But the world-wide-web is a wonder for those (um, me and probably many others) who need time to compose the words and thoughts … and to see (I’m) they’re not alone.


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