How to capture special moments in writing

An image of a man seen from the back, a camera in front of his eyes, and people walking by as he capture those passing moments.

Many moments fill a human life and those are the moments we want to capture in our stories, moments that are special, moments that influence our writing in a positive way.

Moments you might want to write about can be a special birthday party or when you board a plane to go on vacation. A walk in the woods can turn into an unexpected meeting or during your vacation you discover or do things that are totally new to you. You walk hand in hand in a new city with someone new and you ask yourself: what does it mean? Will this be forever? Or you say your goodbyes to someone special, not knowing when you will see them again.

Wherever you are, when you think you might want to write about a moment later, remember these tips to imprint that moment in your memory, and to later capture it in your writing.

  1. Five senses
  2. Close your eyes and breathe
  3. See the details
  4. Create your moment
  5. What is your message?

Five senses to remember moments

The five senses are: seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching. Using these five senses, whether consciously or not, is the way in which you experience your surroundings. To capture your surroundings, go through all the senses, and ask yourself:

  • What do I see?
  • What do I hear?
  • What am I tasting?
  • What do I smell?
  • What do I feel?

These descriptions and details are the basis for all time descriptions. Sometimes they seem boring, but they are important to your writing. If you can, make some notes with your answers to those five questions. Just a few words will make it easier for you to later capture the moment in your writing.

Close your eyes and breathe

The secret to experiencing a magic moment is to breathe. Stop concentrating on every smell and every sound and just breathe the moment. Close your eyes and breathe. Each breath of air will heighten your senses and give you a better feeling of the surroundings you want to recreate in your writing. The best places to write about are those where you have really been, where you have breathed and experienced your surroundings.

Wherever you are, never forget to close your eyes and breathe! Experience. Feel. This will help your writing!

See the details

After breathing in your surroundings, open your eyes and see the details around you. Notice the paper coasters under one leg of a table on a terrace. Observe the woman sitting alone, apart from everyone else, hiding her face behind a huge hat and sunglasses. See the waiter with the sad eyes, smiling and chatting to the customers as if they have no care in the world.

See the details!

Those details are important, but when you write, be careful which details you use. The ones you use should help to give a better image of the world or character you are creating in your writing. They have to help your reader to recreate that world in their minds, to feel the environment you are creating. Remove confusing details. Save them for another story, where they fit better. The details you use must make your story stronger, not weaken it.

Create your moments

You’ve used your senses, you’ve breathed the moment and you’ve seen the details. Next up is creating your moment in writing.

You can create moments that bring the reader some rest and calm, or you can create moments that leads to the first intense contact between your main characters. Make sure you create a setting for your readers, where you show them the surroundings, make them feel the emotions between your characters. You build a scene, starting from zero and slowly picking up speed to lead to the crescendo. You can also choose to pick up speed, slow down again and then quickening the pace once more.

Every word you use is aimed at leading your reader to the climax of your story, and a satisfying ending. Building a moment is just as important as capturing it. Sounds, smells and feelings mean nothing if they are not captured in such a way that they engage your reader.

What is your message?

A moment is only part of a bigger story, part of a message you want to convey. Whether you are telling the reader about driving into work and seeing the city from the bridge or walking the dog and hearing something in the woods, each moment you describe should hint to the bigger story. There should be some coherency between the moments you share.

Capturing a moment successfully is essential to connect your reader to your story. Your reader must feel something when he reads your moments; your hints. It must give him something he can recognize, something he can hold on to, something that makes him want to read on to the next moment you share, something that makes him want to know the full story.

Now get writing and capture those moments!

Image from Pixabay

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