Moments You Can Use...

There a times when a writer gets to a point where the scene is descriptive, the dialogue is crisp and the meanings are clear to the reader. But time moves forward, and there is a transitional stage where one must fill up that time with a Moment. A Moment is one of those little everyday occurences that seamlessly bind the fabric of our stories together.

I look for Moments all over the place. I find them in unusual spots, outside, inside, in the car, etc. What is a Moment? Some of the following are Moments that I've discovered.

My friend, telling me about her three-and-a-half-year-old grandson leading his cousins and aunts and uncles in a parade around the house. The delighted child then heading to his room to make each and every one of them put on a hat and continue the parade.

My daughter, a teenager, grown up, mature, trying her wings with dignity and spirit, crossing the road on the way to the school bus, so that she can jump and play in a pile of leaves.

An aunt, the light in her mind dimming with age, brightening up to tell about the time in Switzerland when she stopped to pick the edelweiss flowers and a cow backed up and made a deposit in her lap.

My husband and I, each of us standing by our cars, on our way to work. He stops a Moment, the sun glinting on his hair, a smile is on his face for all the world to see and he tells me that he loves me one last time before he goes to work.

Did each of you get a sense of something wonderful? Did you feel the tug of memory and warmth? The light of love was in each Moment. Little special memories that each of us have, a snapshot in our heads that develops a whole story. A story of a few sentences, that can make a bridge between dialogue and scene. Use them. Not only will your story become more real to the reader, but you've put a little of your own history into it. Moments are everywhere. By observation, you can pick out Moments. Pay attention to the look of Moments. Don't just describe the action.

If you look at each of my Moments, you see a description of what that person is and will become. The child in charge, the teenager being a child, the aunt preserving a family story, the husband seen with love. These Moments make terrific devices to move a scene forward in a gentle way. Moments are not filler. They are the means in which your reader identifies with your character. Small means, but important to your reader's insight. Your reader, after all, is an observer, peeking into the lives of the people within your story. Look around. See if you can find Moments that you can use to enrich your story and that will bond your reader to that story until the very last word.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post, Jamie! I think most of us don't look for those Moments often enough - well, I should speak for myself, I guess, and I KNOW I fail to do that too often. Thank you for a thoughtful and informative piece.