Last week I took our three sons to the skate park. It was a gorgeous So Cal day, and while the boys did their thing on the ramps and half-pipes, I sat with my trusty spiral notebook and jotted down setting details. If you write for middle graders or young adults, these scene details may come in handy. Here are some of my observations:
- Standard skate park environment--cement bowl, half-pipe, and ramps of various pitches. Metal staircase poles. A brown wooden bridge with blue and green flags flying at the corners.
- Chunks of cement chipped out of the bowl's edges.
- Palm trees planted near the bridge, fronds swaying in the gentle breeze.
- 20' x 20' shades placed intermittently along the surrounding sidewalk.
- Traffic noise from the nearby road--trucks and small cars.
- Wooden skateboards, BMX-style bikes, and in-line skates.
- Most kids wore helmets. Adults did not. Some kids wore their helmets unbuckled, the straps hanging free.
- Mostly kids, from around six years old to older teens.
- Two adults on skateboards--one with a shaved head, wearing denim shorts and a white T; the other had thinning longer hair, and he wore an unbuttoned shirt, corduroy pants, and mirrored sunglasses.
- Most kids rode with one eye on their own path, and another eye on what the other kids were doing (tricks, etc.)
- Some kids sat over the edge of the bowl, legs dangling, baseball caps on backwards, iPod buds in their ears.
- Two teen girls were there, but not on a "ride." They ran up and down the half-pipe.
- One older teen had a tattooed "ring" on his ring finger, about 1/2 inch thick.
- Plenty of F-bombs dropped by some teens--young and old.
- Standard uniform was skinny jeans and graphic T's.
- Cringe-worthy crashes (including my sons).
- Sounds of crashes differed, based on the toy. Scooters--silent glide and then metal scraping. BMX bikes--squealing tires, then rubber thumping, and then metal scraping. Skateboards--a whoosh, then wood scraping, and then a thunk as it flipped.
Have you ever visited a skate park? If so, did these scene details sound familiar? And do you ever jot down scene details when you're out and about?