Thursday, April 14, 2011

Change your focus

On Monday, I shared a little of my approach to photography: take as many pictures as possible, and hope some turn out well. There is a dark side to this, however. I can be a little... obsessive. At times, I'll fixate on an image I must capture on film, and nothing can shake me from my purpose.

In England, I found myself drawn to the flowers. Even though our climates are very similar, somehow more things were in bloom there than at home. Stratford-upon-Avon was particularly beautiful. On my first afternoon, I walked out to Anne Hathaway's Cottage.

The walk itself is lovely. Magnolias were in bloom, as well as other trees I can't identify.

However, I became obsessed with this:

And when I say obsessed, I mean I have 16 other shots, all of about the same quality. For some reason, I could not get a clear shot of this little flower, no matter how hard I tried. It wasn't until I looked at them at home that I realized the problem. Take a look at this example:

Do you see what happened? I wanted a picture of the flower in the middle, but my camera wanted to shoot the one on the edge. The resulting image is blurry and unsatisfactory.

How often does that happen when we're writing? In the middle of revisions, it can feel like we've reworked a scene 14, 15, 16 times, all without affect. It's only when we take a step back and look at what we're trying to accomplish that we realize we've been focusing on the wrong things.

Perhaps the chapter needs to be rewritten from another character's perspective, or maybe the entire scene should take place later in the book. Whatever it is, once we adjust our lens, we're able to write the scene we didn't realize we needed to write.

PS: Please, for the sake of my sanity, don't tell me how I could have gotten a clear picture of that flower. I think I'd throw my camera at the wall if I found out now.