Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Writing Sourcebook.

A few days ago, I read an article on why writer's need a "story Bible", in essence, a notebook that contains all the details of your writing. If you want, you can read the article here. But it did get me thinking, and I realise that if I want to write anything half-decent, I should be doing something like this.

If you want to know, I do like writing, I'm just not very good at it, especially fiction. I think, it's because I'm easily excited about an idea, which makes me want to start writing, but, and this is a big but, my ideas always end quickly, especially if they happen to be snatches of dialog or prose.

So, to that end, I started (ok, I just started today, due to my procrastination), a Writing Sourcebook. I'm currently limiting myself to just one story, although I have a feeling that I'll probably write short stories with the ideas that can't be used. For example, one liners that sounded brillant at night but weird in the morning and even weirder of me, that I still want to use them. Trust me on this, forcing lines into stories makes them sound very stiled. In the um, two half pages I wrote, I can see it's a good idea. I have a chance to jot down what comes to mind before I forget about them, and I don't have to torture myself, or the idea, or the readers, by spinning it out into a long, over-drawn story.

It's also supposed to help you keep track of the details of your story, so that you won't contradict yourself. That, is an excellent thing, especially if you can't remember your characters names (For some reason, I only remember the main characters....), or what happened here or there. Like, what is the msn/qq name I gave XXX (And inwardly you're thinking "NOOO, was I even talking about her? Can I just create another character?).

So, you know what has to be done. Get a notebook (preferably unlined, so your scribbles can go anywhere), and start scribbling! I'm sure most of you are much better writers than me, and now you can feel productive, and have a source for all your ideas. Plus, there is something imensely satisfying about getting your ideas on paper, which can't be replaced by technology (although at night, when there is no light, I may have to resort to writing in my handphone again).

Oh, and just one last word. You may find it easier to write in your notebook, if you like it. For example, my very embarassing notebook is by SK-II, the hmm, is it a skin-care brand? But I got it for one dollar and it looks elegant with a clasped cover (so no one can "accidentally" look. And if they do, they have no excuses). But other than that, I can think of others, such as an all-black notebook (if you're like me, and you have terrible handwriting, what my Secondary School Teacher Mr Seow said, that all handwriting looks good on a black background, is true). But make sure you can read what you write.

This, incidentally, is the brand of black notebook I used to journal on my trip to Japan. My friends and I (all the same brand) still swap notebooks to read till now, a testament of how black paper overcomes all bad handwriting.
By the way, this image is not mine. I found it on the web.

Tell me if this works (or doesn't work)!

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