Thursday, September 27, 2012
Write it Down
Here is the only piece of writing advice that I've ever really followed. And, if I haven't, I've usually regretted it:
Carry a notebook and a pen.
Seriously. Because you know that time you're at the shops and you overhear an intriguing piece of dialogue that might spark an idea? By the time you've paid for your groceries, put your card back in the wrong place in your purse, panicked that you've lost it, found it again and then got into your car and driven halfway home before you realised you've forgotten to buy milk...that dialogue is gone for good.
Write it down.
In the era of smart phones, you won't even look like a stalker while doing it. Copying your conversation down word for word? Certainly not. I'm texting my friends, of whom I have many, thanks for asking.
What about that great idea you have at three o'clock in the morning when you suddenly break free from a crazy dream? Sure, it might not look so good in the cold hard light of day, but how will you know unless you remember it?
Write it down.
In the morning, if that note says OMG shoes with zippers then what have you lost?
I have a few notebooks on the go, as well as a gazillion tiny bits of paper floating around. Pages in my notebooks include Slang I Like, Titles That Have No Stories Yet, Interesting Names, Brainstorming, and Work Quotes.
This is from Work Quotes:
We're on the hill, the man said, and we look down on our neighbours.
I could tell that was true from the tone of his voice.
That person could be your soulmate.
I thought you said cellmate.
Sancrosant. This word does not annoy me.
But in the middle of all the useless stuff are chapter plans, ideas for new stories, ideas for improving old stories, and the bare bones of plots that are just waiting to be built on.
Carry a notebook. Write stuff down. You'll be surprised what turns out to be useful.
Do you take notes?