Yesterday we went on a walk. Usually I have an audio book but I had returned my last one to the library and didn't have time to look for a new one. Currently my MP3 player only has my son's bedtime music on it so I went with nothing to listen to.
Truck boy was ensconced in the stroller and, as always, was enthralled with the world around him. He pointed out everything he saw. And I mean everything. Trees, birds, clouds, geese poo on the road. He imitated every sound he heard, birds, trucks, planes. He loves sound and will mimic everything he hears including the vacuum and the mixer. I saw the world through his eyes and ears and began to notice things I saw so often I never really looked, or listened, to them anymore. I tend to be a finish line oriented person. I know what I need to do, and do it, so I can move on to the next thing. During that walk I was reminded that I need to see my surroundings.
I'm not good at world building in my novels. Like in life I tend to see the finish line and forget to stop and get to know the world my characters inhabit. It's absolutely necessary to not only know but communicate the sights, sounds and smells of a story. If you want the reader to come back, to feel at home in your story there must be somewhere for them to stay. So, like on my walk, in my writing I need to open my eyes and ears and become aware of the world surrounding me.