College of Arts and Sciences


Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing


Sarah Rice


mystery, fiction, thriller, gulf, coast, Mississippi, Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Passionate Observation, noticing, perceiving, kinesthetic research, passion, sense-making, visual literacy


Creative Writing | English Language and Literature


The term Passionate Observation is presented as an ability that improves creative writing. It requires a writer to absorb details, noticed or perceived, with intense imagination and reasoning. I present a three-pronged case for acceptance and development of this skill for writing mystery fiction. Examined in this paper are the literary talents of Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, along with the supposition both authors were passionate observers. Moreover, through the lens of education, I connect visual literacy, kinesthetic research, and passionate observation. Then, I show the philosophical correlation between observation in science and passionate observation in creative writing. I summarize my analysis into a closing argument for passionate observation and follow up my critical paper with a creative writing piece; several chapters of a developing mystery fiction novel titled, Cruisin’ the Coast, where I employed passionate observation to enhance and expand a previously worked narrative. The results expanded the original work, improved the imagery, and ignited my ability for invention. While the piece remains a work-in-progress, it has surpassed my initial artistic expectations.