Somewhere along the writing journey, when I was trying to find a new way to write an ordinary action or something I'd written a hundred times before, I started just getting up and acting out the action.
Let's say I wanted to describe someone tripping. Instead of writing just that or some boring version of that, I got my butt OUT of the chair and found a location similar to one I was writing (within reason...we're not going to find a canyon to pitch over, right?) and acted it out. No, I don't really *fall*, I just pretended. :-)
And I experienced a range of sensations I wouldn't have otherwise thought to consider--the way falling feels on different parts of the body, how different things look as I fall, what unexpected thoughts might go through my mind in the process.
- Arms flail, fingers search for something nearby to grasp but find only air. Did I think to write that in?
- Scenery blurs in the vision or eyes squeeze shut or gaze skips around searching for some source of help. Did I think to write that in?
- Feet stumble at first, but quickly find traction and dig in, providing more stability than I would anticipate. Did I think to write that in?
- What about the stumble itself? Did something give way under foot? Did feet slide on gravel? Did the character trip on their own shoelace? Every scenario will lend itself to a unique variety of circumstances in the aftermath.
- Depending on how severe the trip, the body recenters within a particular time frame. Maybe the trip I've been planning isn't severe enough or is too severe for the next step of my story. Did I think to write that in?
So, next time you're searching for a fresh way to write action, get out there and just do it.
**Disclaimer** Just do it--within reason. Don't get crazy and hurt yourself. :-)