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Your writing assignment this week is to take a walk outside for at least twenty minutes. If the weather doesn't cooperate, you might visit a coffee shop, library, mall or other indoor public area. Bring a notebook and a pen or pencil. At some point on your walk, find a place to rest, take out your notebook and take at least ten minutes to describe what you see around you, engaging all of the five senses. Your goal is to create an evocative description of place.
Consider what is particular about this place. How might readers identify this place in a particular moment in time? For example, a description of Pike's Place Market in 2016 will differ from a description of the same market in 1945. What details will help you locate the place you describe in time?
In the following video, photojournalist Victor J. Blue works with photographers to sharpen their descriptive writing skills.
https://vimeo.com/110944505 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Show, don't tell. In other words, use descriptive and concrete, specific language to recreate for your readers what you experience through your five senses in this particular place. It may help to create a list detailing what you see, hear, smell. Think of details that also evoke a sense of touch or taste, even if you do not touch or taste while you are observing. If you smell coffee brewing, this evokes a both a sense of smell and taste. If a leaf is waxy green, this evokes both a visual as well as tactile experience.
When you get back to your computer, use your notes to develop a descriptive paragraph. Your paragraph should evoke ALL of the five senses.
On your walk back, if you have a smart phone or camera, take a few interesting pictures. When you get home, take a few moments to look at one of your images. Type a one paragraph description of the image. If possible, please embed a copy of your image in the document along with your description.
What differences do you notice between the two experiences, writing from direct observation and writing to describe a captured image? Write one paragraph in which you reflect upon your experience.
You will submit a one page typed response. You should have at least three paragraphs in your final response 1) Writing from observation 2) Describing a captured image and 3) A reflection on the differences you notice between these two writing experiences.
Your writing assignment this week is to take a walk outside for at least twenty minutes. If the weather doesn't cooperate, you might visit a coffee shop, library, mall or other indoor public area. Bring a notebook and a pen or pencil.