Claire Fuller Recommends...

“When I was a visual artist, I would take a small sketchbook with me wherever I went and draw whatever I saw, which was often strangers in cafés. Now that my creative outlet is writing I still do this but with words, especially when my work-in-progress has stalled. I take my laptop or a notebook into a café or pub, and I sketch someone, with words. I start by describing what they’re wearing, how they’re sitting, and how they eat or drink. The ways someone eats and drinks or the clothes they wear suggests character, and how they are sitting will suggest mood. If they’re with someone, even better, because I can describe them too, and their relationship to the first person. Which one of them invited the other, or is this a regular meetup? What do they think of each other—openly and secretly? Each time one of them speaks, I write a line of imaginary dialogue and keep writing until there’s a pause or the other replies. The rhythm of this exchange—which I can’t actually hear—adds to their character and their relationship. But a word of warning, if you do try this, make sure you don’t stare for too long.”
—­Claire Fuller, author of Unsettled Ground (Tin House, 2021) 

Photo credit: Adrian Harvey