Look Around...What Do You See?

My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.

—Ernest Hemingway



One of the fundamental building blocks fiction writers will attest to is, when writing, show, don't tell. Ernest Hemingway was a proponent of this approach, but it came naturally to him because of the way he saw the world. For most writers, however, it's a conscious effort to remove summarizations and editorials from their writing and simply describe the scene. By trusting the reader to come to their own conclusions, the writer is allowing their work to have a deeper impact and resonance because it's being filtered through the reader's own past experiences, perceptions and beliefs.

Building Your World

The creative problem solving techniques you're using in Compass are designed to stimulate new ideas and add definition and realness to the future vision you have when you are with your true love. There are many creative and fun ways to build this world, and you are in the heart of doing just that.

Do you feel more connected with what you are creating? Is each Practice making you feel like you are one step closer to attaining your ideal body? You should be answering yes to these questions by this point in the Course. If not, you will begin to experience that with the Plays you are doing next. Remember to think about these Plays and re-read the stories you are writing. Saturate and savor all that you are building and creating by being in this program.


Course Practice

Environment Play

This Play is storytelling with a twist: you're going to story-show. Your Practice writing will be a detailed exploration into the environment you choose that you are experiencing with your ideal body. You pick the setting, the cast of characters, the weather, the props and all of the elements that trigger all five senses: sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing.

This is a two-part Play where you will first draw a scene and then you will describe that scene by writing using the show, don't tell, style of Hemingway. It may seem easier to include intricate details in one creative process over the other, so the challenge is to make sure that you're delving into details equally in your drawing as well as in your writing.

Drawing Template (PDF)

Drawing Template (PDF)

Draw the Environment

Draw (avoid any written words if you can) the home, vacation spot, car, patio, building, scenic attraction or outdoor space that you want to enjoy in your perfect body with your partner. For example, if you and your love are sailors, draw your boat with as much detail as you like with you at the helm, the inlet and waterways, the docks, the marina, bait shop, nearby boats, the people you’ll sail with, trees, landscaping, buckets, ropes, fenders, pathways, the place you park your car when you drive to the marina, etc.

Be as detailed, colorful and explicit as possible, and include yourself and your partner in the scene. Remain loose and childlike in your drawing, stick figures, please.

Writing Template (PDF)

Writing Template (PDF)

Story-Show the Environment

Write about what you see. What is happening? Where are things located in proximity to one another? What is the weather like? What time of day is it? Who else is there? Where is your partner and what are they doing? Get close into the scene and look at the details of something small such as the shape of a coffee mug or the way the clouds hug the tree line in the distance.

Don't worry about being a fantastic writer and using the proper grammar or styling. This isn't about that since this writing is only for your benefit. Just envision the scene in your mind's eye and then record it factually as well as how it makes you feel. The emotional component will be captured via your five senses, so remember to touch on all of those as you do your writing.

Here is an example:

...the wind was light, but the sunflower sail popped taught with a clank as we rounded John T. Horr's Island and headed into the Gulf. The sun shifted when we turned, pulling dark orange shadows across the eye-squinting white deck. The wake reacted to the smooth, twin hulls with smacking, lapping sounds like a dog's unquenchable thirst. I purposefully took a deeper-than-normal breath and let the briny, humid air fill my chest, holding it inside of me as if it would return me to my youthful self. I turned to him and our eyes locked in a shared secret. He took my hand and squeezed it, the warmth and strength of his touch, affirming. Mutual smiles grew on both of our blushed faces until we broke into uninhibited laughter.