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Here is a simple how-to exercise for improving focus, depth, and clarity in your work, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction.

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Pick a moment.  Seriously pick a moment. Hold it clearly in your mind.  It can be a moment you’ve already experienced at some point in your life. It can be a moment in a fantasy you have. Real or imaginary, pick a moment.

With that moment held firmly in your thoughts, answer these four questions –

!.  Describe what your moment smells like. Every moment has a scent or lack  of it, humidity or none, leaves a taste on the tongue or is cardboard in the mouth. Breathe in your moment and describe what you smell, feel, taste. What causes those scents? Is the air moist or dry? Hot or cool?

2.  What is the purpose of the moment? Every moment has a purpose, each being a bridge to the next. No moment is without purpose. Describe the purpose of your moment.

3.  Describe the living things in your moment, whether human, creature, whatever your moment holds. What do they look like? How do they behave? What is their purpose in your moment? What energy do they release?

4.  In your moment, look behind you. What do you see? Describe it. What emotion does that evoke? What was your physical response to what you saw?

Nothing else has to be written. This is an exercise in opening up to limitless options in your writing. You can use your answers as a beginning for an essay, or toss them in the bin. Either way, the benefit is in the visual + description.

Get over it and get writing!

2015 – J. Thompson