First and foremost, I wish you a happy and successful New Year!
Have you ever been driving down the street and suddenly thought of a line you want to use in a book? Have you ever been insulted and two hours later realized what you should have replied? Do you ever wish you had a better memory? Yeah, that’s me and a lot of others.
Last year my husband gave me a hand-held recorder. I’m learning to keep it with me, and when I have the chance, I write down the pearls of wisdom I record. I have a small card index file and every once in a while I go through my notes to see what I might have forgotten. Some lines are perfect for specific books. Others actually inspire a story.
Memorable titles are also something I tend to forget, so I write them down. Generally, I try to take the title from a line in the book, but that’s not always the case. I’m working on a book right now that has to do with purple cows and elderly spies. Figure that one out. The working title is, “How Now Purple Cow”. Remember the old line, How Now Brown Cow? Are you too young to remember that one? It was a line used to help with diction, demonstrating rounded vowel sounds. Now it’s a garbled version used as a book title.
One of my favorite titles is, “I Never Met a Chocolate I Didn’t Like.” It’s one of those small books you find in pharmacies or gift shops, and of course it’s about chocolate. I wish I’d thought of it first and I’d have used it as a line in a Sandi Webster story. Oh well, you can’t think of everything. Some of you might have noticed in other posts that I’m an admitted chocoholic.
Research is another area requiring copious notes. The smallest details in a story can make a world of difference, and if you’re including fact in your fictional story, you’d better get it right. If you don’t, someone who knows the facts will pick up on it. I have a friend who writes historical romance and she learned this the hard way.
I heard someone give a talk at a conference about writing short notes on yellow stickies and attaching them to a board in chronological order. I’d have so many notes I’d confuse myself. I’m just not that organized, even with written notes. I envy those who are. I do, however, type short reminder notes at the bottom of the manuscript I’m working on, and delete them as I use the ideas. Works for me.
I’ve tried to be organized, but somehow, for me, it takes the fun out of writing. We each have our own system. Mine would drive most people to drink. (I don’t drink, so it’s not an issue for me.)
Lists can be a big help, too. There’s not a whole lot I can add to that comment. When you think of a new book title, add it to a list. If you think of a new blog topic, add it to a list. I have a blog list, but unfortunately I forget to look at it, and when I do I tend to forget to cross out a subject after I’ve written about it. Forgive me if I repeat my blog topic from time to time, or you might think of it as recycling. Hmm. Yes, recycling makes a good excuse for repeating myself.
I think everything I’m blogging about to day is something you already know, but it never hurts to have a reminder.
Of course, notes and lists apply to everyday life, too, not just books. I have a grocery list, a list of errands to be run, a list of birthdays (which I often forget to check), and notes about things I don’t want to forget. Sometimes we simply have too many things on our minds to remember all that we should.
Anyway, if these comments help even one person to remember something important, then I’ve done my job.
Uh, what was that job again? Only joking.
Until next time, have a great week and figure out what works for you so you remember everything you need to do. I’ve noticed cars that have yellow stickies stuck to the steering wheel or rearview mirror. Now there’s an idea.
CLICK HERE to visit Marja McGraw's website (which I hope to update soon)
CLICK HERE for a quick trip to Amazon.com
Don't forget that A Well-Kept Family Secret - A Sandi Webster Mystery, is now available in audio format at Amazon.com.