Uploaded by Connie Korrell

Explode the Moment Activity

Exploding a Moment:
One minute in the life of…
Directions: Complete the following assignment in your notebook, the “Freewriting Section”.
“Exploding a moment” is like looking at life in slow motion. Key ingredients for exploding a moment in
your writing include:
● “Writer’s BINOCULARS:” fine tuning your observations, using your senses to focus on the smallest details.
Making the blurry details clear!
● “SNAPSHOTS:” SHOW don’t TELL—paint a picture, freeze an image with your words. Try using a simile
or metaphor to create your image.
● “Thought-Shots”: TELL don’t SHOW—share your inner thoughts and feelings as a writer. Put yourself
in the scene.
Your challenge for this writing assignment is to choose one specific situation and describe a one
● Consider the following example:
⮚ A simple sentence: “I walked into the McDonalds and people were busy everywhere.”
⮚ The same situation, exploded:
“The sweat-soaked workmen hunched over the stainless steel counters, bellies bursting
out of grease stained t-shirts. An old man slouched in the corner, holding an aluminum cane
in one hand and a rolled up newspaper in the other. He swatted at flies as the workers
scurried behind the counters, stuffing bags with greasy burgers, rushing to the beeping fry-olators to scoop the golden greasy potato sticks, slinging steaming robot food onto red plastic
trays. The smell of sizzling fat hung heavily in the air and I wondered how it is that the taste
of salt, grease and charred beef could be so appealing to an empty stomach. My mouth
watered in anticipation as the perky young girl slid the bag across the slick counter,
murmuring my thanks as she squeaked out, ‘Have a nice day!’.”
Guidelines for writing your own Exploded Moment:
Step One: Choose a simple sentence (or write one of your own). Notice the underlined words—those words
represent the mood you should be trying to capture in your exploded moment.
⮚ The lunchroom was chaos.
⮚ The substitute teacher was angry.
⮚ It was hot/cold outside.
⮚ Dinner at my house is always an adventure.
⮚ Playing __________________ is fun.
⮚ The storm was terrifying.
⮚ The last five minutes of school are boring.
⮚ Speaking in front of an audience makes me nervous.
⮚ I get excited when I see my crush in the hallway.
⮚ Saturday mornings make me feel lazy.
Step Two: Put on your Writer’s BINOCULARS and focus on all of the details “hiding” in your blurry, simple
sentence. Use as many senses as are appropriate to your sentence and brainstorm some details. You may use
any of the questions below to get you started.
● SEE: Who is in the scene? What do they look like? What are they wearing? What are they doing? What
action do you notice? What do your surroundings look like?
● HEAR: What are people saying? What sounds fill your ears?
● TOUCH: What is the air like? What do your surroundings feel like? What textures and sensations do you
notice? What physical sensations do you experience?
● SMELL: What scents are in the air around you?
● TASTE: What tastes do you experience?
Step Three: Create a SNAPSHOT sentence to freeze a particular scene. Use some of the details from your
binoculars-list to paint a still-life picture with your words. Experiment with a simile or metaphor to capture this
Step Four: Create a Thought-Shot sentence that shares your thoughts, feelings, or reactions to the situation
you’re describing. Your thought-shot can be in the form of a question or a statement.
Step Five: Write your Exploded Moment, combining your binocular details, your snapshot and your thoughtshot into paragraph form. Your original simple sentence should not be part of your exploded moment! When
writing your exploded moment, your challenge is to take the situation you are trying to describe and imagine no
more than 60 seconds (1 minute!) of this event. Explode that moment into one, powerful, slow-motion event.