Reading Jane Harris’s wonderful historical novel The Observationsthis week reminded me of one of my favourite writing exercises which I call ‘The Observer’.
A character stands in the street, looking up at a lighted window. The character observes the person through the lighted window and reflects on the significance of what s/he sees and what actions s/he will take next. You can write in the first or third person, but the most important thing here is to remember that your character is observing the other. What does s/he notice? Think of the five senses – what does the street smell like? What about the quality of the light? What noises interrupt the observer? What is s/he afraid of?
We must sense the fascination. What will you reveal about the character in the street and the one at the window? What will be hidden?
I’d love to know how you get on with this exercise. Do let me know in the comments!