Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Writing Tip Tuesday

In an essay by Jack Prelutsky entitled: In Search of the Addle-paged Paddlepuss (included in an anthology entitled: Worlds of Childhood: The Art and Craft of Writing for Children; edited by William Zinsser), he says:

One of the main differences between a poet and a non-poet is that a poet knows he is not going to remember what happened. Therefore he is smart enough to carry a notebook and write it down....Another secret of writing, along with taking notes, is keeping your eyes and your ears open, keeping your mind and your heart open, and being aware of what's going on around you.

I think it's important for writers to pay attention to the extraordinary in the ordinary - to notice the small things around us that the average observer might not notice or note to memory.

And when you notice those small things, WRITE THEM DOWN.

Now, granted, I have to write down, "Get up in the morning," but, still....I try to write down the little things that catch my attention.

Example: While visiting my friend, Dolores, last week, she told me that when she was a little girl, she loved going to visit her aunt in Vermont. One of her most vivid memories about those visits is what her aunt always served her three things - one of which she loved and two of which she hated.

The three things were:
No matter how often she told her aunt that she hated tripe and Moxie, her aunt still served them to her when she came to visit.

Now, I don't know about you, but I find that pretty interesting.

And as much as I'd like to think that I will always remember that, I wrote it down.

Some day, I will need to draw from my well of extraordinary things and there will be that list.


Anonymous said...

You are so right, Barb! We need to write things done. For such a long time I have been sure that I would remember things but the, ahem, older I get the less likely that is possible.

My trouble is writing things down and then not being able to find the scraps of paper again.

Augusta Scattergood said...

Great tip, but I agree with Susan. I bet MS Organized, aka B O'C, will have a tip for that, too. What about it Barbara? How do you keep all those notes and little scraps of paper in any semblance of order? Folders? Computer geeky stuff? Do tell! G.

Barbara O'Connor said...

Computer geeky stuff, totally!

I love my Mac so much and it has this cool Notes section.

Also, Scrivener is handy dandy for notes and such.