Writing Explosions


It’s July 4, and in the U.S.A. that means fireworks!

I struggled to write a blog about how to make a blog explosive when I tripped across Explode the Moment. This is a module for language arts curriculum designed to build descriptive writing.

I think it could be a lot of fun. The idea is to take one moment in a story and explode it with details. Put the scene into slow motion detailing thoughts and describing what you’re sensing.

Here’s the scene: You’re John Hancock. It’s July 4, 1776 in Philadelphia and you’re just about to put your name on the Declaration of Independence.

Have fun and share your moment with us!


Here’s a quick version from me:

It was 76 degrees and humid, a bit uncomfortable despite the breeze limply rifling the curtains. It wasn’t just the layers of linen and silk of his suit or even his wig that caused small beads of sweat to sprout on John Hancock’s forehead. The subdued conversations, foot shuffling, and coughs in the room only too clearly demonstrated how precipitous things were. The noises in the room mixed with the clip-clop of hooves, snatches of conversation, and shouts of the street merchants drifting in from the open windows.

The men were tired from a night spent arguing points and rewriting phrases. Many mouths yawned wide.  A few soft snores escaped. Smoke from the many pipes made a thick cloud layer near the ceiling and gave the room an acrid smell.

Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin were seated together. Jefferson, even seated, towered above most in the room. Adams had a bulldog attitude. Franklin was leaning forward in his chair, both hands on the head of his walking stick, a slight smirk on his face. He reminded Hancock of an old, fat, gray, cat sitting there ready to pounce on any weakness. Hancock wondered if he looked like a mouse to Franklin.

Seated at his desk on a raised platform facing the representatives, Hancock toyed a bit with his ebony walking stick with the ivory knob that leaned against his chair. His stomach was tight with anticipation and trepidation. Charles Thomson, secretary to the Continental Congress, placed the document, the Declaration of Independence, before Hancock and stood nearby as witness.

 Hancock confidently scooped up a quill from the table before him. With dramatic flair, he plunged the quill with its rough, stiff shaft into the inkwell. A few drops of ink spilled out onto the green cloth that covered the desk.

“Gentlemen,” he nodded to the group.

With wide, forceful strokes, the quill scratching on the parchment, Hancock signed his name in huge letters across the document. He was sure Franklin could read it from where the old man sat.

“There! His Majesty can now read my name without glasses. And he can double the reward on my head!”

It was done.