urban planning

Youtube Teaches Me Something about Writing: The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces


This is one of my favorite documentaries. The quality of this Youtube transfer is not great, but it’s worth it for the voice over.

I have trouble writing accurately about the way large groups of people congregate. This means my stories tend to cut away as many characters as I can, leaving singles and duos and trios doing all the work. I depopulate, and sometimes I think maybe I should try to populate and maybe even over populate a story. But I’m hesitant. You, too? Maybe repeatedly watching this will help.

Power quote from about three and a half minutes into part two: “This artifact is a design object the purpose of which is to punctuate architectural photographs. It has some utility as a bench but is usually placed in isolation.”

How often do you, as a writer, favor an object, a character, a fleeting moment’s emotional eruption for it’s aesthetic beauty instead of its utility to a story? Is it wrong to do this? Is it right? Is there a middle ground?

Craft Notes / 18 Comments
January 21st, 2010 / 3:52 pm