Note Taking Photography Style

The other day I toured an old Queen Anne style home in a nearby city. It was part of a research trip for a mystery story I’m writing. Because I needed first hand information, this tour helped me get a feel for a home that I will be writing about in my story.

I took along a small note pad and pen, but I never pulled them out. I was too busy taking pictures of every detail I could find: candelabras, mirrors, sash windows, fireplaces, an alcove, the music room, the library, etc. I took a total of 68 pictures in that little 45 minute tour. I would have taken more, but I had forgotten to change out my camera batteries, and I was trying to conserve energy by only taking pictures of crucial areas.

And the pictures turned out great. I have a good visual library now of an 1891 Victorian home that I can refer to as I work on my manuscript.

Next time you need to do research on a particular topic, take your digital camera along. The pictures will help keep that creativity flowing into your story.

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Thankful for the Tools

I couldn’t imagine being a writer in the days of Dickens or Shakespeare, where every word was penned onto parchment. Talk about carpal tunnel! And if you made a mistake, there was no white out. You could only scratch out or rewrite the whole page.

Then there were the old manual typewriters where you pounded your words onto paper. If you weren’t careful, you could punch holes when you typed your a’s, o’s, and e’s. I liked the erasable bond paper, but some thought it wasn’t very professional. Of course, I personally felt all the obvious correction-paper marks on the thicker sheets looked tackier.

I’m very thankful for modern computers and their word processing software. It’s so easy to type, edit, and copy your manuscript. What will the future hold for us scribes? Will we just think and our words will appear onto holographic screens? Who knows, but no matter what the tools, the creative process will never change since the idea much first formulate in the brain before it can be translated onto the page.

I’m glad I live in a time where technology can help get my words out faster. Too bad the publishers didn’t work as fast.

Working Through a Hectic Life

This past week has been extremely busy running to and fro from school plays, awards assemblies, functions, etc. As a mother of four, I seem to be spending more time in my car than in front of my computer.

As a writer, I need to spend time writing, not only to hone my skills, but to keep those creative juices flowing. But what do we do when we are inundated with some very hectic times? How can we keep that creativity functioning?

Write at every opportunity. Carry a small notebook in your purse or pocket, so when that funny incident occurs, like a kid making a cute comment when his brother goes up to receive an award, or when you hear a great name for a character, you have a place to jot down notes.

Keep your brain working. Have a small tape recorder handy to record thoughts or ideas. This can even work  as you’re driving from place to place (as long as it’s ‘hands-free,’ like we need here in California). Then later when your schedule calms down a bit, transcribe those thoughts, ideas, and dialogue snippets and place them into the projects you’re working on.

The important point to remember is that if we don’t put these things “somewhere,” then we can’t use them anywhere, especially when they’ve been forgotten.

Do what it takes to record your ideas until a time when you can give them better attention. Don’t let a busy schedule keep you from your writing.