Quote It! Orson Scott Card

“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.”

— Orson Scott Card, an American author primarily known for science fiction

Observation is a key writer’s trait. Sometimes I sit on my front porch and watch the world go by for hours–but that’s work!

In those hours, stories swarm. They get tested for plausibility–and most are rejected after noodling on them just a few moments. The ones that last … well, they last. Eventually they may be developed, but mostly they are just creativity’s food.

In what ways do you intentionally observe?

Michael Ehret, for Writing on the Fine Line


8 thoughts on “Quote It! Orson Scott Card

  1. I wrote a post on this yesterday, about living in the present moment. I find it helpful to zone in on a single thing: a blossom, a bug, a child’s hair in the sun…could be anything. From that point of “really seeing” I take off in all kinds of directions

  2. Years before I knew I wanted to write, I’d see an item or a building that started me wondering what the lives of their owners had been like. I’d begin to create a story about them. Then I’d see a person, who sparked some question in my mind and I would put them in one of the buildings or houses I had seen. Now, I see – and hear – so many ideas, I’ve got books waiting to be written. I’ll have to take my laptop to my grave with me. ;o)

  3. I like observing for quirks and interesting physical characteristics, and if I’m lucky, I may catch a snippet or two of conversation that makes for great dialogue or just sparks an idea for a story. I love to people watch!

  4. This is what fascinates me about Sherlock Holmes. It’s his relentless pursuit of intentional awareness that draws out the story in what he observes. I just love that! For me, it often begins by my staring at a specific place or setting. This captures a mood for me – an atmosphere if you will, then I populate that atmosphere with characters and off we go …

    • Yes, LOVE that about the new Sherlock Holmes movies, particularly. The way they bring out and heighten that observational ability of Holmes. It really helps to show us “averages” what it is he’s doing.

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