Monday, May 26, 2014

Story Focus

Writing a story is like aiming a camera and focusing: do you want the wide landscape, the faraway shot, or the closeup? I often begin up real close, in the narrator's mind or with a close look at one or two characters in the midst of something . . . and then . . .

 . . . pull back . . .. . . to show where this takes place and who else is central to the story.

The focus usually moves in and out then, throughout the story: sometimes close in, sometimes further back.

Someone recently asked me how I choose which sort of focus to use, and the answer is that I simply follow how the scene is playing out (like a movie) in my head.  I don't feel as if I'm manipulating the 'camera'; I feel as if I'm following it, instinctively leaning in and pulling back.

Occasionally when I feel bogged down in the story, it is often because the focus is stuck--too close or too removed for too long--and a simple change of lens revives the movement.

Or something like that . . .


  1. Now, that makes sense to me. Not just in writing but in the real world too. Too much focus screws up your perspective on things.
    Or something like that.

  2. I feel the same way, Sharon. I find it easier to blog about someone else's business and their chosen topic, but when I'm faced with adding a blog post about mine, it's near impossible to find an idea, even with so many floating around in my mind.

  3. I like the way you have described your thought process.

  4. Oh, this is so interesting...I will think more on this...
    Thanks for sharing a bit of process.
    Something like magic I see here.
    Your "Something like that..." makes me smile.

  5. The photos are perfect examples of what you write about in this post--they really make the idea of changing the focus in a story according to the context.

  6. Have to admit I am in awe of writers Sharon.. to be able to sit in front of a computer, or typewriter (?) and hammer out hundreds of 'hopefully' absorbing words.. not sure if I could do it, might stick to aiming the camera.. or something like that :)

  7. I have the same feeling when I choose pictures for blogging! :o))
    and "Something like that" will remain the quote of the day !:o)
    Always interesting to discover how it works in your mind..

  8. I love how you start with a closeup of the leaves. If you had given us the garden image first, maybe we would've never noticed those beautiful little dewdrops?

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

  9. Your photos and text make it so clear...guess that is why you do what you do so well!

  10. Thank you for this. That first image is so captivating and then stepping back to get perspective takes the intensity away.