• Jabe Stafford

Write Good After And Before

Write Good: An Absurd Storytelling And Adventure Blog

After-And-Before


Ya know what’s goddamn insane?


Living in a book.


We are right now, we were five years ago, and we will be in five more years.


My wife and I had a frickin’ adventure last year (July 2019) visiting Columbus, Ohio to see friends

and watch a cheetah play with toys like it was born in the body of a house cat and not the body of a high-speed killing machine.


We toured the North Market.


We stayed with friends and walked bustling streets and cafes full of nifty-ass people.


Now?


Ghost towns have higher populations than our frickin’ world does.


Sometimes ya gotta dig deeper than an english teacher searching for meaning when there ain’t none to find writing lessons in the real world. Sometimes the world catapults writing lessons at us like it’s trying to bring trebuchets back into style. A strong before-and-after picture of a setting can seriously super-charge your writing if you’ve got the time to wander around.


I won’t quote Tolkien. I won’t quote Tolkien. Chances are you probably already were anyway at this point.


The pictures you see paired with this blog (like a fine wine paired with the holy-shit-what’s-happening-to-our-world cheese) are from July 2019, then from May 2020.


Almost a year apart.


A setting’s spirit can change in a frighteningly short amount of time, can’t it? If these scenes were in a book, the sensory details and the feelings experienced by characters would sure as hell change between the before and the after. And that’s how writers can gather knowledge about what a setting makes a person feel like.


Don’t wanna go out nowadays?


Visit a nature center mid-morning, then after dusk. (And stay safe while doing so.)


Stop by your old favorite mall from ten years ago. (If it’s safe and the place is open.)


Drive by that stadium your favorite team or band played at. (If ya got the gas and masks.)


Photograph that shit.


Too embarrassed?


Act like you’re tourists, or pull a Doc Brown and say it’s for an experiment: your writing!


That before-and-after experience is something you can carry into your stories, even if you can’t physically go to the story’s setting. A first-time exploration is different than a tenth-time chore. A tenth-time chore is different than a can’t-go-there-anymore-because-reasons. Use that vocabulary and the feelings you felt in the before and the after.


Hell, I got an idea for a future favorite novel I haven’t written yet from visiting a botanical garden. How’d the idea strike? Because I went there as a kid and then freaking POKEMON GO released years later and the gardens became a Pokestop paradise. Better freakin’ believe I re-explored the living shiz outta that place.


Sometimes awesome moments like that can become writing fuel. All because you had an adventure and visited a place once, then again later.


So have some frickin’ adventures and write too! It’s fun, and helps you and others!

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