Which of the three things mentioned by Faulkner — experience, observation and imagination — would you say is stronger or more developed in you? Work the other/s harder. The more you grow and combine all three, the better your stories.

I would consider observation to be my most developed skill as  writer because I like to point out things in my stories that others might not notice. For example, the color of my character’s fingernails, condition of their clothing, how many teeth are visible when my character smiles or how many are missing. These are all important in illustrating character or sometimes establishing setting. If my character is from a desert and is malnourished, I take the time to explore how this effects their body, home and interaction with other characters. If someone new who is fat and healthy visits this character, I might have them act suspicious, why should they be healthy while everyone here is starving? Or, try to be polite to this new character in hopes of securing food for themselves and their family. But it is how my character interacts which is important and these interactions are heavily based on what I observe. When someone homeless on the side of the street extends their cup for a donation or food, how do the pedestrians react physically? Do their faces change? What kind of body language do they have? Does their body language predict if they will help the homeless person or avoid them? Do they even make eye contact or purposefully point to something in the opposite direction? All these things are important in discovering what kind of character I am creating.


Write a short-short story (one to a few paragraphs) from back to front. Begin with the ending, and work your way forward. Discover the story by skipping the start, and allowing the ending to uncover your opening. This can be a great way to overcome writer’s block. 

The waxing moon peeks through the branches of the barren tree illuminating two men shoveling piles of soil into a hole 2 1/2 feet wide, 8 feet long and 6 feet deep. Sweat catches on their upper lips as they thrust dirt piles into the grave before them. No headstone, no other graves around, just two people observing. The boss of the two men makes sure his workers are filling the grave properly. Nothing left for questioning, nothing to draw attention. Esther, the only mourner rocks on the balls of her feet, arms wrapped tightly around herself as she chews the inside of her cheek.

“He deserved better.” Her father, the boss, kicks a small clot of dirt into the hole. She leans against him, rubbing her head against his shoulder. He shudders and sighs. “Deserved a whole lot better.”

The two men digging root their shovels in the ground, all four standing quietly, heads bowed in silence. Esther hears her father’s words echoing in the cold air that makes her teeth chatter, clear liquid dripping from her nose. Crickets send sweet murmurs to one another from nearby bushes. She wonders if there was more she could do, if she could have said something to spare him.

But all that remains lies six feet under the earthen mound before her.