Writer Wednesday: Focus

On a previous Writer Wednesday article, we talked about purpose and how it informs our writing.

Today, I want to narrow the aperture on the smallest piece of creative writing: scenes. (Poets, you can apply this advice, too!)

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of an amateur photograph versus a professional one:

In the amateur photo, everything is in focus at the same time. It evokes “a boy playing in the grass”.

Now check out the professional photo. What’s in focus? The boy, and only the boy. Everything else is a part of the image, but not the focus. This image evokes “a curious boy plucks flowers in the forest.”

Look at how much more is said!

It’s counterintuitive, I know, but fiction (really, all writing) is about participation. It’s 50% what you write and 50% how it’s read. Focus on one thing in a scene and NAIL it. The rest you can sort of gloss over, because the reader‘s imagination will fill in the gaps. It will make your world feel fuller and more deep, even when less information is given, because you allow the reader to make it real for themselves.

It’s giving a child a toy to play with instead of telling a child how awesome the toy is. Show versus tell. 

Focus every scene, if you can. If you notice your scene isn’t working, this is the likely cause. It could be that your broken scene is not inviting the reader to imagine an amazing world and its wonderfully damaged people. So it lingers there. Give it a focus; see if that helps. If not, change the focus or remove it. 

Stay focused, my friends. Oh, and have a great day!

*If there are any topics you’d specifically like me to cover on Writer Wednesday, let me know!*

— R. 

Ronin stays focused on traveling, writing, and blueberry muffins. You can read his stuff on Tumblr, WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can even follow him on YouTube for video content every Friday!

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Teach peace. 


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