Writing About Significant Places Print


Writing About Significant Places

(An alternative is to choose an object—a violin; a Buick; a rowboat—that figures into your memoir.)

Choose three places (of small size; humanly habitable) that figure into where your memoir is located.

One is well-recalled; another shrouded; a third in between. Choose one.


Focus on the senses (sensory detail) to bring the place alive.

Sight. Walk through the place. What do you see. List nouns. Resist detailing. Make a long list.

Choose three and add in their telling details.

Sounds. Make a list & choose three of them to detail.

Smells. Make a list & choose three to detail.

Tastes. Make a list & choose three to detail.

Textures or touch. Make a list & choose three to detail.


Description uses comparison: metaphor or simile. Take one aspect of the place and describe it in terms of something else. Can you extend the metaphor?


What happened at this place or with this object that was so significant? Were other people involved?

What emotional relationship do you have with the place or object?

What sorts of feelings does this writing bring up for you?


Write a 300-word description of the place using the details above. Pay attention to whether you emphasize one set of sensory details over another.


Write a 300-word anecdote of something that happens because of or with this place/object but intensify the descriptive element as much as the narrative.