Monday, November 22, 2010
Guest Blogger, Dale Mayer: A Trick I Never Knew
Thanks so much for Liz’s invitation to be here today. It’s always a pleasure to visit.
Over the last many years, I’ve done several online writing courses. With time certain aspects have blurred into oblivion (usually the things I should have remembered, but some things have stayed with me – usually the unusual. One of them was a trick that another writer had learned to keep her writing from becoming stale.
The uniqueness of the idea has stayed with me even though I have yet to try it out for myself. Setting up the initial layout could take a bit of work, which is why I haven’t managed it yet. I’d like to share it and find out if other people have done this or if they have a similar system they’d like to share. So much of what we do seems normal to us but can be seen as special by others.
So let me explain. This writer had a series of small (six inch high) cloth bags, although baskets, a jewelry hanging bag, or a shoe bag would also work. You’ll understand when I’m done and will be able to adapt the idea to something you already have at home. She spent days finding, creating, and writing (typing is fine) descriptive phrases on a piece of paper. Then she cut her paper so that there was one phrase per paper. She labeled these cloth bags for different categories such as:
• Physical descriptions like color of hair, eyes, kinds of chins.
• Sexual intimate descriptions of kisses, hugs, etc.
• Descriptions of landscapes, skies, and the general outdoors.
• Descriptions of clothing.
• Anything else you might want!
Then when writing her novel and she came to an impasse or to a point where she found herself writing down the same old phrases, she’d reach into whatever pouch she needed and pull out a description. She didn’t use them exactly as written, because then of course, there would be just more of the same old tired writing very quickly. Instead she used these phrases as inspiration for new unique descriptions that would fit into her current masterpiece. She often wrote the new inspiration down and added it to her cloth bags.
Then as she read other books, more ideas would come to her. She’d jot them down and add to the paper to her bags. In this way, she never lost those wonderful descriptions; neither did her own writing become repetitious and stale. It’s a system she’d used for years.
Like anything, it can take time to get into a routine, but once something works for you, it becomes a gem. This system is very customizable. We all have areas where we see ourselves struggling to say something in a new and unusual way. To this end, you could have as many categories or descriptions as you needed to.
Hence one of those hangers with vinyl pockets to carry or store jewelry in would allow you to have everything self contained. You could use some or all of the pockets and use different colored notepaper for an easy to see sorting system.
You would have to add new ideas to keep it fresh, but over time you’d develop a huge database of inspirational ideas.
So what do you think? A good idea? Or a time waster?
What about you? Do you have a system similar to this? Or something different? Does a system like this appeal to you? Or do you find you don't need a system like this?
Inquiring minds want to know!!